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Students preparing for first study trip to India

Posted on Oct 29, 2010
Fifteen UW-Superior students plan to make the university's first study trip to India this winter to learn about that country's rapidly growing economy.
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While Indias economy grows at a pace of 9 percent, much of its population depends on small marketplace shops like this one. UW-Superior students will experience both urban and rural settings.

While India's economy grows at a pace of 9 percent, much of its population depends on small marketplace shops like this one. UW-Superior students will experience both urban and rural settings.

By Brittany Berrens
University Relations student writer


India has one of the fastest growing economies in the world, expanding as much as 9 percent a year. This winter a group of University of Wisconsin-Superior students will travel to the emerging Asian giant to learn more about the country's economic system and the overall shifting of the world's economic powers.

"What's happening right now is unprecedented," said Dr. Jerry Hembd, the associate professor of economics who is leading the trip during J-Term. "We're seeing a shift in world economic power from Europe and the United States to India and Asia. Students are going to learn our place in a new world economy."

The trip is an opportunity for the students to see how the United States became a consumer society because India's economy is growing in a similar fashion.

"We'll be looking at the growing consumer culture," Hembd said. "Shopping malls, people buying cars…"

First study trip to India

This is the first study abroad trip by UW-Superior students to India. For Hembd, the country is the perfect setting for students to learn outside the classroom. He has traveled there frequently since 1998 and has built friendships with colleagues, who will guide the group everywhere from the enormous city of Delhi to the cotton fields of rural India. Students will stay in the homes of both urban and rural Indians to get a real sense of the contrast between life in the two areas.

Developing global awareness

Above all, Hembd said, students will develop global awareness.

In today's job market, employers are looking for graduates who have not only learned technical skills, but who also have an ability to look at problems as part of a bigger picture.

"All across the board, employers value an outside view. So hopefully we can get graduates to see a different part of the world and see how they view things," he said.

"(I hope) students will figure out how they can and should fit into the world. It's a combination of study and experiential learning. The country will be our classroom," he added.

Open to all majors

While the trip is organized through the Department of Business and Economics, the 15 students taking the trip represent a variety of majors. Hembd said it's a chance for all of them to take away something different from India.

"I want to learn about different laws they have that we don't, especially laws that pertain to women and children," said Rachel Zubiate, a criminal justice major.

Right now, students are in a phase of planning and research for the trip. Zubiate said she's been scouring the Internet to learn more about the country.

"I want to know what I should be expecting to eat and how to communicate with people since I don't speak their language," said Zubiate, who was never left North America.

Through a series of meetings, the students are making some of the final preparations for their trip. Their next big step: booking flights. They will also be following Indian newspapers to keep up on current events and preparing for a research paper that will be completed after the trip.

Offered again next year

Hembd said he plans to repeat the trip to India during next year's J-Term, which is scheduled between the fall and spring semesters. Students interested in the program, which includes credits in the fall, J-Term and spring semesters, should talk with Hembd before the spring advisement sessions.

News Contact: Al Miller | 715-394-8260 | amiller{atuws}
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