Oxford study abroad adds India to its itinerary

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Participants in the Oxford Seminar last year tour Oxford University. (Jonathon Wood)

BYU’s Global Management Center is making a change to one of its most popular study abroad programs.

The original Oxford Social Innovation Seminar consisted of a balanced classroom and real-world experiences with Oxford professor John Hoffmire and Global Management Center manager Jonathon Wood while in England.

“For me, the most meaningful part of the Oxford Seminar was spending time listening to experts from across the world gather to work together to understand how to improve the world,” communications student Andrew Cook said about his previous experience attending the program.

The program has been renamed as the Oxford to India Social Enterprise Seminar, since the updated version of the study abroad will take students to both England and India.

Participants will spend the first three weeks in England learning about social enterprise with Professor Hoffmire. The students will also attend two world-class conferences to be instructed on business and poverty.

Students and leaders will then fly to India to work on real-life social enterprise projects for the final two weeks of the program. This is the first year participants in the program will go to India and be able to implement their business strategies directly in an impoverished environment.

The main project will involve the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics. This organization focuses on improving the overall profitability of farmers in India and recently developed an app for farmers that aims to achieve that goal. The students will work directly with the creators of this app to improve and promote it.

Participants in the study abroad will also spend their Saturdays doing community service projects in poor urban areas with both corporations and church members, in addition to their main business project.

“The most important thing the students learn from the experience is that there are plenty of ways to find very satisfying work that pays well and makes a huge difference to the world,” Hoffmire said.

This program focuses on helping students understand how business can contribute to society in a positive way.

Students will have recreational opportunities in both England and India in conjunction with their business dealings, according to Hoffmire. They will visit classic destinations like London, Stonehenge and Oxford University in England. The program also includes a visit to India’s famous Taj Mahal.

Other global management study abroad programs are primarily targeted toward Marriott School students. However, this new program invites students from all majors and anticipates a wide variety of participants.

Global Management Center manager Jonathon Wood said students pursuing different majors add a perspective that is instrumental in the program helping people.

“We would rather have half the students be from other majors because we like that diversity of thought,” Wood said.