First-year students explore new horizons through Leeds’ FGX program.
Studying abroad is one of the most insightful and impactful experiences of a college student’s career. Few schools offer freshmen such an opportunity, but at the Leeds School of Business, the First-Year Global Experience (FGX) is considered an essential part of their college journey. The intentional timing during year one sets the tone for what’s to come and is often a game-changer in terms of how students approach business thereafter.
Nearly 300 first-year students enrolled in one of Leeds’ FGX courses last year, in which they spend the semester at Leeds learning about doing business in a specific country context, and then travel there in the spring. While abroad, students gain access to companies that often are not open to the public and explore how culture and history are reflected in the way business operates in the region. They learn networking early on—an ever-critical skill that will carry with them throughout their careers—and forge relationships that could lead to an international internship or full-time position later on. This year, Leeds is featuring locations such as Argentina, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates.
Developing intercultural competence
The FGX is the first step in our curriculum toward building intercultural competency, which is integral to success in today’s dynamic international marketplace. This year, Leeds will introduce a culture assessment (the Intercultural Development Inventory, IDI) to all FGX classes. The IDI is an indicator of important study abroad outcomes (e.g., how to effectively engage with cultural diversity, enhance intercultural communication skills and develop intercultural competence) and will be a helpful tool for Leeds instructors in teaching students how to approach, understand and navigate cultural differences they may encounter when traveling abroad and in the workplace.