«It's probably going to be as super-hard as it will be super-fun»: students’ impressions of the International Online School «Hidden Business Champions»

«It's probably going to be as super-hard as it will be super-fun»: students’ impressions of the International Online School «Hidden Business Champions»

22 April 2021

On March 29 – April 4, 2021, UMTE students participated in the spring intensive course, that was organized by three universities from Belgium, Austria and Finland.

Solntceva Daria, a 2nd-year student of International Financial Management:

«It's probably going to be as super-hard as it will be super-fun». That was my thoughts on March 29, 2021. It was the first day of intensive course «Hidden Business Championship Spring School» of Artevelde University and I was supposed to combine my participation in this course with me study at my university.

In fact, not everyone can get there – to pass the selection, you need to prepare a so – called "moodboard" - a kind of visual presentation with photos, illustrations and text. According to our task, "mudboard" should reflect ourselves – our names, fields of studies , native towns, hobbies, what inspires us. According to the results of the selection, we were assigned to international teams – this was the main goal for almost everyone, because international communication is the key to self-development in the 21st century.

I was lucky enough to get into a wonderful team, in which there were 3 other people besides me – Marilyn from Austria, Katarin from the Czech Republic and Tiago from Argentina.

On the first day, March 29, we got acquainted with the teachers, with each other and received a task to prepare a group presentation about the global problem and its solutions. The next two days – March 30 and 31 - we had lectures from teachers from the Finnish University "Karelia University of Applies Science" and the University of Austria "University of Applied Science Upper Austria". The topics ranged from "Business Culture and Innovation in the Nordic countries" to " European Logistics "and" B2B marketing and sales strategies in small and medium-sized enterprises".

But, of course, the most exciting and inspiring day was the day of teamwork - April 1. After calling my teammates in the Microsoft Team platform, we spent 4 hours (no kidding!) preparing our speech. We chose and discussed the topic of the presentation, which was "Normalization of the use of food waste". We shared the experience of our countries and countries we visited, learned a lot of new things for ourselves, laughed a lot and, most importantly, had fun!

The last day was a day of presentations - more than 40 people from different counties, different views and beliefs, joined in 13 incredible teams and discussed a problem that they are cared about! The problem of online education, the problem of ocean pollution, the problem of sign language integration, the complex political problem under the slogan "Black lives matter"!

Such diverse performances make it clear that the modern world is complex, unstable and full of obstacles, but the main thing is to know that we are not alone and can always count on help and support, because we are the generation that should take a huge step towards eliminating these problems.

In conclusion, I would like to thank our university and the management of the Institute of International Programs, which provided the opportunity to participate in such a wonderful event, as well as the teachers who supported us!»

Ataev Said-Selim, a 2nd-year student of International Financial Management:

«The Belgian Spring School left me with good emotions only. I’ve got a unique experience working in a team with students from different parts of the world. My team included Monica, who is a student at a Canadian university. There was also Jorina, who is a second-year student at the Czech university. And finally, Carla, she's a student from Mexico. We quickly found a common ground with each other. We easily became friends and together we worked on ideas how to improve online education. Our online meetings apart from lectures, when we were working on the project, were very busy. The time passed rapidly. It was very exciting to your own ideas and listen to the ideas of your team.

As a result, together we created a project that was very much liked by the teachers. They gave us a very good review of our project and pointed out its strengths and weaknesses. All the works presented by the students got high grades, and each topic of these works is important and relevant today.

Lecturers were from Belgium, Finland and Austria. All the teachers were very friendly and sociable, and I listened to their lectures with great interest. The teachers began their first lecture with an introduction to their country and their university. The lectures were on various topics: "European logistics", "Business culture in the Scandinavian countries”, etc.

In conclusion, I would like to say that this was my first participation in such an international event. I thought that it would be difficult and not particularly interesting, but I was very wrong. From the very first online meeting, I was completely immersed in the work and gave my best, as did every member of my team. The only thing I would like is to hold such an event in an offline format. But, unfortunately, in the current conditions, this is difficult to organize. In the future, if possible, I will take part in the online school again»

Plakasov Mikhail, a 2nd-year student of International Financial Management:

«On the first day participants and teachers of the Belgian University introduced themselves to each other with the help of Mood Boards which we had to do before the beginning of the program.

During the program we listened to a lot of lectures on various topics from the culture and mentality prospective. What I liked the most is the teaching methods from other countries: lecturers communicate with the student as a friend, with a very pleasant "vibe" that imperceptibly draws you to communicate with other people and participate in discussions.

It is an incredible experience of communication with representatives of different countries and cultures. My team included representatives of eastern and Western cultures. In this team, we performed a project on the topic “How can I understand you?” We wanted to discuss the problem of communication of a hard-of-hearing person with society and with life.

Such events help to draw attention to the current problems of society. It is nice that there are like-minded people who, like you, change something for the better.

This kind of communication courses should be permanent, because it shows the world all the social problems there are and the participants are trying to take various actions to solve it. Therefore, this is important for us. Spring school showed us how representatives of northern, central and Western Europe solve problems taking into account the "subtleties" of mentality, social psychology and other criteria of society»