ICFRC: Gaining International Experience When Study Abroad is Unavailable

Listen to an audio podcast of this program.

Change is ubiquitous in the international business environment and reflected in the increasing number of employees embarking on international assignments, and the high-paced flow of information around the globe spurring innovation that connects business partners across national borders. The aincreasing complexity and dynamism of the international environment requires that future business leaders develop cultural intelligence (CQ) in order to successfully establish relationships and accomplish their goals. Cultural intelligence is defined as "a person's ability to function effectively in a variety of contexts -- both internationally and domestically" (Cultural Intelligence Center, 2022). Study abroad programs have long been a preferred mechanism by which many university students were able to develop CQ. However, even before the COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of study abroad programs, rising costs and other factors prevented a large number of students from pursuing these opportunities.

Through a project of creating podcasts in her International Business Environment course, Professor Erin Johnson fosters the development of her students' cultural intelligence by leveraging technology to engage students with this experience. Working in small groups, students conducted field research and interviews, analyzed their findings, and crafted a series of persuasive podcasts.

Dr. Erin Johnson is an Associate Professor of Instruction at the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa. Dr. Johnson teaches courses on negotiation, leadership and international business. She has a long-standing interest in global business and cross-cultural collaborations. She has partnered with universities in Poland, China, and Kosovo to create global virtual collaborations for her students in the context of their coursework. Most recently, students in her International Business Environment course participated in a short-term global virtual teams' project with students at the University of Business and Technology (UBT) in Pristina, Kosovo. Professor Johnson plans to continue this collaboration in the Spring 2022 semester and is hoping to travel to Kosovo to meet her colleagues later this year.

Dr. Johnson will be joined by UI students:

Hannah Gorslin is a senior at the University of Iowa studying Marketing, with a minor in Rhetoric and an International Business Certificate. She is involved in various student organizations on campus, including Delta Sigma Pi, the Professional Business Fraternity, Women in Business, and the Marketing Institute. She also serves as a Senator within Tippie Senate, alongside a dozen other Tippie students. She is passionate about finding ways to increase herr cultural intelligence and is very grateful for the opportunity to share their findings from their podcast in Professor Johnson's course.

Allie Zucker is a Marketing Management major at the University of Iowa with a physical activity and nutrition science minor as well as an international business certificate. She is also involved in multiple organizations on campus such as Women in Business, American Marketing Association, and Marketing Institute. She loves to travel and enjoyed learning how to enhance her cultural intelligence this past semester!

Grace Nelson is a marketing sales major at the University of Iowa with a certificate in international business certificate and a minor in communications. She is involved in the American Marketing Association and has a position on the fundraising committee through the University of Iowa. This summer, she is planning on interning globally in Dublin, Ireland. Throughout her experience at Iowa, she has worked very hard in expanding her cultural intelligence, and hopes to expand it even more in the future.

For more information on the Foreign Relations Council visit their website at

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