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Global Connections

After 10 years, Miami’s annual winter term still making an impact

Miami students made nearly 6,200 trips abroad and away in January from 2014-2023, according to Global Initiatives

Miami University students took a lesson in cooking while traveling in Singapore during last winter term.
Miami University students take part in a cooking class in Singapore during a faculty-led Farmer School of Business trip to Singapore and Korea during last winter term (photo submitted by John Ni).
Global Connections

After 10 years, Miami’s annual winter term still making an impact

Miami University students take part in a cooking class in Singapore during a faculty-led Farmer School of Business trip to Singapore and Korea during last winter term (photo submitted by John Ni).

Sarah Brumett ’15 was a Mass Communications major in 2014 when she discovered what it was like to work on a film set during Miami University’s first winter term.

Brumett — now content coordinator for feature animation at Netflix — was involved with “Peter Rabbit” in 2018 and “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” in 2019. Her first Netflix credit is on the movie, "Leo," which premiered on Nov. 21.

Sarah BrummettAs a junior at Miami, Brumett (pictured at left) served as a digital imaging technician for director Anthony "A.J." Rickert-Epstein's psychological thriller, "The Torus Effect,” which was filmed in and around Williams Hall. Rickert-Epstein graduated from Miami in 2005.

“Working on ‘The Torus Effect’ during winter term was my first time being on any sort of film set and gave me a small taste of what goes into making a movie. In short: a ton of work and even more passion from the folks on the crew,” Brumett said.

Miami was the first public university in Ohio to offer a term during January, giving students a chance to enrich their academic experiences through study abroad, completing a workshop or internship, conducting research, or taking additional on-campus or online courses.

“Before taking that class, I knew I wanted to work in the film industry, but there are so many jobs that touch a film throughout its lifetime, I didn't know where I wanted to be,” Brumett said. “During this class, all of the students were able to get hands-on experience with equipment and roles/positions that many of us never had the opportunity to test out before. It was a great way to see where our natural proclivities and interests were in practice.”

Participating in Media, Journalism, and Film’s Inside Hollywood program — a perennial winter term favorite — that spring semester was an “exceptionally beneficial experience,” Brumett added.

“I know I wouldn't be living in L.A. and working in this industry if it wasn't for Inside Hollywood and all of the advice I received from Miami alumni who paved the way,” she said.

700-plus registered for this winter term

Miami students made an estimated 6,197 trips abroad and away for credit during winter term from 2014-2023, according to Global Initiatives. Statistics show 5,517 of those trips were from 2014-2022, according to Karla Guinigundo, director of global partnerships for Global Initiatives. (Some students may have done multiple trips.) 

Guinigundo estimates 680 students participated in winter term 2023, and nearly 700 have registered to participate this January.

The Farmer School of Business (FSB) has seen the greatest participation of students in winter term study abroad and study away, with 2,224 faculty-led trips taken from 2014-2022, statistics show.

Jacob Drees, assistant director of Global Business Programs at the Farmer School of Business, said 223 students went to Asia, Australia, Italy, and London last winter. This January, 219 students are expected to travel to Asia, the Asian financial markets, Italy, London, and Spain.

John Ni with Miami alumnus Un-Chan Chung MA '72, former prime minister of South KoreaJohn Ni, associate professor of Management, took 19 students from different majors across campus to Korea and Singapore last January and expects 20 students on the trip to Japan and South Korea this Jan. 1-26. (Ni, pictured on the far right, stands with Miami alumnus Un-Chan Chung MA '72, former prime minister of South Korea.)

The class he taught last time had two components: global culture study and introduction to supply chain management. Highlights included visiting a Hyundai plant in Seoul, where the company is headquartered, and learning from a FedEx official about how the China-U.S. trade policy influenced the growing role of Singapore in the global supply chain.

Ni hopes students gain an appreciation of global culture and see themselves as one day potentially becoming part of an effort bridging American and Asian cultures.

“It could be working in an industry," he said, "or it could be becoming an expat working overseas.”

'I place a high value on global experiences"

Farmer School of Business Dean Jenny Darroch said she thinks students should study abroad “whenever they have the opportunity to do so — winter, summer, or during the academic year. I have been fortunate to travel a lot and live in different countries, and so I place a high value on global experiences.”

 Jenny Darroch, dean of the Farmer School of BusinessDarroch (pictured at left) joined Miami on July 1, 2020, during the pandemic, so she has had limited opportunities to travel with FSB students — until last January, when she joined Ni and his students on part of their trip.

“We have important donors in Asia, so I decided to travel to South Korea and Singapore to coincide with students there," she said.

Darroch had a first-hand look at the impact that trip had on the Miami students. 

She observed students learning to be together for weeks as they experienced different cultures. She watched them interact with Miami alumni working in Asia and saw how committed faculty members are to the student experience. 

“I sat beside a student on the way to the DMZ (demilitarized zone) between North and South Korea, and he kept saying that he never thought that in his lifetime he would have experiences such as those he was having in Korea,” she said. “I often think of that discussion, even now.”

Discovering Costa Rica this January

Alejandro Lara, a senior from Hamilton majoring in Integrated Social Studies Education with a History minor, is looking forward to his first winter term. He will be joining others on a faculty-led trip to various locations throughout Costa Rica Jan. 8-19.

Alejandro LaraFor Lara (pictured at right) this winter term is about “going beyond” what the normal university experience can offer him at home.

“What I hope to get out of the experience is a better understanding of community and education from the perspective of a Latin American country and culture,” said Lara, adding the trip would not be possible without the generous support of his family, professors and staff in the College of Education, Health and Society, and scholarship programs at Miami.

He will graduate this spring after student-teaching in Fairfield and plans to teach high school social studies in the greater Cincinnati area. The Costa Rica trip plays into those plans.

“I want to learn about what they do differently from us here in the U.S. in that regard and what I could bring back with me to enrich my community and enhance how I educate students in my future classroom.”