A group of nine University College of the Cayman Islands students recently visited Costa Rica to experience a first-hand look at international business strategies from a different perspective.
The undertaking between 3-9 May was part of the International Practicum in Global Business Development at which students attended a pre-visit seminar and wrote papers. They are now completing post-visit assignments.
During the visit, the students were accompanied by Dr. Robert Weishan, chair of the faculty of business studies, as well as Deputy Registrar Diane Campbell, who arranged the visits and presentations, and Senior Lecturer Patricia Ebanks.
Costa Rica was chosen because of the degree to which it values its people and its environment, as well as its national economic development plan, which focuses on excellence in both areas, Mr. Weishan said. The practicum covered eco-tourism, international investments and free trade policies, in addition to the thriving medical tourism and proliferating information technology business sectors.
“Costa Ricans will not sacrifice their people, their culture or their environment to short term economic gains,” Mr. Weishan said. He said, “as an example of that they will not allow gold mining. They hold fast to a path of sustainable development and of building a strong middle class, resulting in a relatively impressive ‘Gini coefficient’/measure of income equality across society.
“Many of these achievements are due to Costa Rica’s steady pursuit of a consistent basic national strategic development plan – in place for some 25 years,” Mr. Weishan said.
Echoing this perspective, student Wendy Clarke said, “What has struck me the most is the importance to Costa Ricans of education and of bettering themselves,” with education being free at all levels, to all Costa Ricans – as far as they want to take it.”
Ms Clarke, who is majoring in management, said, “Being immersed in relevant aspects of a different country and seeing how it manages its products and human capital gave me new and broadened perspectives on various types of management processes in business.”
Mr. Weishan put the trip in perspective in terms of its relation to the Cayman Islands.
“In a global village with an integrated world economy, truly no one can afford to be limited to just an island,” he said. “UCCI students need to see the bright and ambitious young people that they’ll compete against for the rest of the 21st Century. This international practicum hopefully helped open their eyes to them any challenges and opportunities they will face after graduation.”