DEIB Around the World
an international experiential learning program
Pamplin College of Business Office for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) recently held its first-ever international experiential learning program, DEIB Around the World. In partnership with the Global Education Office and the Steger Center for International Scholarship located in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland, 26 diverse undergraduate students set off for a 10-day journey.
From May 14 to May 24, students gained hands-on knowledge about the opportunities and challenges international firms and managers face engaging in cross-border business, practical skills to create organizational value through international market expansions, applying learned concepts from Pamplin’s international business course, tourism markets, and exposure to the inner workings of gaining a job or internship abroad while enhancing cross-cultural communication skills through engagement with community members. Student activities included daily journaling, documenting observations, evening reflection discussions, as well as a final group project.
DEIB Around the World expands international access for underrepresented and underserved populations while enhancing student cultural humility and practical skills broadly in a global business context, aligning with goal #3 of Pamplin’s implementation plan for Strategic Initiative 5.6, Build a Model Inclusive Community: to advance the academic mission in Pamplin through DEIB. DEIB Around the World is the first program of its kind to offer students the opportunity to travel abroad without the stressor of finances. All program fees including airfare, lodging, meals, and even passport expenses were covered for students. This program directly aligns with Virginia Tech’s President Tim Sands’ Beyond Boundaries vision, an initiative to dramatically improve the univerviersity’s access and affordability for students, which has been identified as a leading strategic priority for the university by Sands and the Board of Visitors.
I was able to broaden my perspective and gain a deep sense of understanding in the significance of business beyond international borders in addition to bonding with my peers through this shared experience. This opportunity also gave me the chance to expand my intercultural roots and learn from individuals who have achieved great success on an international scale. - Sam Escorcia, FIN, '26
Prior to embarking on this journey, the concept of working abroad was never a consideration. However, the opportunity to engage in conversations with High-profile individuals and seasoned professionals with international expertise has transformed my mindset. It has shown me that I can think bigger and make an international impact in my life. -David Delacruz, FIN & DEVLP, '26
As a first gen student, it was a privilege of immersing myself in 10-day trip abroad. This global immersion experience allowed me have a wider perspective on UNESCO heritage and tourism influence, international markets, DEIB within the Swiss government and business environments, but also the conviction that dreams can come true under any set of circumstances.Because of this experience, I will be adding a minor in International Business at Virginia Tech! -Jamie Fonseca, CMA & DGMKTG, '25
Studying abroad in Switzerland for international business and DEIB is an enriching opportunity. Switzerland's renowned institutions, landscapes, and cultural diversity make it an ideal destination. I gained a firsthand understanding of global dynamics in a top financial center. The program's emphasis on DEIB allows me to study diverse teams and multicultural environments. Switzerland's multicultural society and commitment to inclusivity provide an excellent backdrop. I immerse myself in new cultures, deepen my appreciation for perspectives, and build intercultural skills. Overall, studying abroad in Switzerland offers a transformative experience, expanding knowledge, providing a global perspective, and building a diverse network for an inclusive world. -Keven Turner, ACIS, '25
The whole week was beyond amazing. I met new friends, went to amazing places, and experienced a new culture. Overall, I am beyond thankful. I am not going back home as the same person I was 10 days ago. One of the biggest lessons I've learned is that overcoming differences and making a place for everyone regardless of their color, age, or gender is what makes a great place. -Samiha Mahboob, CMA, '24
Studying abroad as a Latina has enabled me to fully embrace and celebrate my cultural heritage. It has given me the platform to connect with others, share my traditions and values, and gain a deeper understanding of who I am as an individual. Knowing one's identity and roots is essential in navigating life's journey, and this study abroad experience has allowed me to explore and strengthen my social identity as a Latina. Furthermore, it has given me the opportunity to educate others about my background, family traditions, and the richness of Latin American culture. By sharing these aspects of my identity, I have not only contributed to the cultural exchange but have also fostered a greater appreciation and understanding of diversity among my peers. -Judith Obregon, BIT, '24
This has been an amazing opportunity to experience DEIB in another part of the world. There are many different cultures in Switzerland, and it is interesting see all the different areas and languages spoken. I've been convinced to do an entire semester abroad or even my masters in Switzerland! -Emily Davidson, FIN & REAL , '26
I’m very fortunate to have been apart of Pamplin’s first DEIB around the world cohort. I was able to gain knowledge about international markets, tourism, and what a career working abroad entails during this 10-day trip. -Cameron Brown, BIT, '25
I am incredibly grateful and honored to have been a part of the pilot cohort for Pamplin's DEIB: Around the World study abroad program. Over the course of ten days in Switzerland and Italy, I gained a deep understanding of the significance of international business and tourism. This experience allowed me to broaden my cultural horizons and learn from individuals who have achieved great success internationally. -Laura Powell-Portillo, BIT & FIN, '25