Dr. Stoica leads students on adventures through study abroad program

Perfect Scenery: Dr. Stoica posing in front of a canal in Bruges, Belgium. He enjoyed bringing his class to this beautiful location.

The school of business is in the recruitment process, offering two faculty-led courses under Dr. Michael Stoica, Professor of Marketing. International business programs are offered in the summer of 2021: Leuven, Belgium and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The requirements for international travel, according to AARP.org, is proving that an individual’s COVID-19 results are negative, or having proof of vaccination.

“I think that by the end of March (2021), almost everybody that wanted to be vaccinated, will get the vaccine,” said Stoica. “But in 2-3 weeks, we will have the Johnson and Johnson’s [coronavirus] vaccine which is one. It is a big company and they will make hundreds of millions of dollars.”

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is working on launching the IATA Travel Pass– a digital platform for travelers to obtain accurate information on vaccines and other requirements needed prior to travel. This is in the form of an app that is set up as a digital passport.

Stoica states that nothing is set in stone for students to obtain a digital passport. But he holds a certain hope for COVID-19 vaccinations helping young travellers move fluidly through countries.

“That is what I hope with my classes,” said Stoica. “You never know, but if things go the way they are planned, it will probably be okay by summer and we can move around. If everybody that is vulnerable that wants a vaccine, will have a vaccine. Things will open.”

Tina Williams, Study Abroad Coordinator stated on March 16, 2020 the Office of International Programs cancelled WU study abroad programs that were scheduled to depart for May, June, and July of 2020.

Also Washburn’s current WTE fundings for students were stopped due to the budget cuts that the COVID-19 pandemic brought.

“Unfortunately the WTE funds are not available for this academic year, which would include this coming summer,” said Williams. “But we do have another scholarship that is called the ‘International Programs Scholarship’ and these are funds that we have through the Washburn Endowment Association.”

According to the budget sheets on Washburn’s study abroad programs website, Brazil’s total cost for this adventure is $4,514, while Belgium sits at $5,136.50.

“I’m still recruiting,” said Stoica. “Usually it [ the deadline for application] was due at the beginning of March with both classes. Now because of the coronavirus, we might start even later, maybe mid-March. The enrollment is not rolling.”

The study abroad website also shows that both trips to Belgium and Brazil are approximately three week-long courses that total to three credit hours.

“This is like breathing air,” said Stoica. “ If Washburn stops it’s international relations, we will shrink as a university. Things have to go back to normal.”

For students wanting to take trips to either Belgium or Brazil, according to Stoica, they must have a major or minor in business and prior prerequisites in business classes that prepare the individual for the ‘International Business Experience’.

“Students will work in mixed teams with European, Chinese and Brazilian students for clients that are either in Brazil or China. And then we work online from May to June,” said Stoica. “Then we go there and we work for those clients. Say they want a marketing plan, or human resources strategies. Say they want something business. There are business classes required for these classes.”

Stoica stated that BU406 is the international business experience that consists of 80% online coursework, then 20% of the class focused on building relationships and gaining knowledge outside of US borders.

“The class has a business part, working,” said Stoica. “The cultural experience part is the beauty. The best thing that is happening in the class is the friendship, the networking.”

For recent graduate in International Business Marketing with a minor in spanish, Chase Brill had the opportunity to travel to Belgium in 2019. First, he began to work on projects in Topeka, then expand projects to companies all over the world.

“That part was a little difficult because of the language barrier. It kind of opens your eyes to how much is actually out there; different languages, different cultures,” said Brill.

Edited by: Matthew L. Self,