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Dr. Carol Hansen tells us about EM Strasbourg's summer school programme

Publié le August 8, 2017, Mis à jour le September 8, 2017

Visiting professor Dr. Carol Hansen answers our questions about EM Strasbourg’s summer school programme.

Why did you decide to teach abroad in Strasbourg?
Strasbourg is the cultural heart of Europe. Located in Alsace, it is a beautiful blend of French and German history and language and it embodies the concept of cross-cultural learning. The Ecole de Management has an excellent reputation as a top Grande Ecole and it is uniquely situated to stimulate one’s curiosity about European integration from a political and economic perspective. My teaching at EM is a natural extension of my personal love of Europe, in general, and France, in particular, and it also enlarges the professional partnership with my home university, Georgia State University in Atlanta.

Have you enjoyed the experience?
The opportunity to teach in such an international environment with top notch faculty and students is wonderful! As a visiting professor, I have taught in France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, and West Africa. Each invitation deepens my conviction for and love of international scholarship. I am grateful to my EM colleagues for their warm hospitality and I also thank our summer school students for the rich diversity they bring to the program.

What are the professional benefits of teaching abroad?
The opportunity to exchange research and teaching ideas and practices can only enrich one’s own work. As part of the EM visiting faculty experience, I am often asked to speak with interested faculty and students about my own work as an ethnographer who studies the cultural context of privatization and organizational change. Most recently I gave a presentation on the cultural context of human resources in North America and I was invited to review a doctoral student’s very successful dissertation on the ethnography of a French human resource firm’s beliefs about the employability of disabled and otherwise marginally viewed candidates.

What are the challenges and rewards of teaching a diverse group?
The rewards of teaching a diverse group of students are many. As their instructor, I see amazing growth in their intellectual curiosity about foreign cultures. Likewise, students have an opportunity to learn a new language, French. Learning the logic of another language is key to appreciating its culture. As to challenges, I must recognize and adjust as needed to the various learning styles and expectations of individuals who come from many different countries and academic systems.

What is the most important thing that a student will learn during the programme?
Whenever a student spends time in a different country, they are required to move beyond their cultural comfort zone. This can initially be uncomfortable and challenging. However, such experiences are essential to those who wish to lead and work with colleagues whose value systems are different than their own. As a result, they will acquire a better understanding of world events and the interlocking nature of today’s business. Finally, they will learn that it is possible to function effectively in different cultural settings.

What advice would you give to future students on this programme?
My hope is that students will recognize their own internal growth as well as the possibility that he or she may have changed as a result of this experience. It is also important to network and stay in touch with fellow students who have equally enlarged their own world view as a result of their participation in the Ecole de Management’s summer programme.
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