Re-Defining Winter Break

February 2013

Twenty Farmer School students spent two weeks of winter break completely out of their comfort zones. The Winter Break Southeast Asia (SEA) program engages students with the business environments and rich cultures of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Hong Kong. Students visited companies and historic sites including the Mekong Delta, Cu Chi tunnels, and Ankor Complex. The students returned to the U.S. four credits richer, with a broader, more globally informed perspective.

"SEA students are exposed to the full phase of economic development in Asia, from the true starting point of developing countries, to the fully developed," said Professor Sooun Lee, Director of the Higgin Kim Asian Business Program, and the trip's founder.

"It is the only FSB trip that goes to developing countries in Asia. Seeing these countries firsthand is truly eye-opening for any American," said Associate Professor David Shrider who co-led the trip. "The differences in business, culture, cuisine, and daily life are all things that we can only begin to understand through experience."

"This trip changed the way I view the U.S." said Nicole Crandall, a senior Accountancy student. "We quibble about politics and money, but these are minor issues in the scheme of things. Most of Vietnam and Cambodia are in shambles due to severe civil unrest and extreme poverty. In Cambodia, over a third of their population was a victim of genocide in the 1970s, and they are still recovering. However, the people in these countries are much more jovial and content than many well off Americans. Visiting these countries helped me realize that material objects aren't the most important things in life."

"I would definitely recommend the trip to others. It was a great experience to see that part of the world," said Colton Lowry, a senior Finance student.

"Going on this trip I realized that having strong business relationships with Southeast Asian countries is vital for American companies," noted Logan Lucas, a junior Management and Leadership student. "There are so many different opportunities in Asia that you have to experience firsthand in order to truly understand them."