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11.5.2023 | School of Business

Reflecting on the successful International Student Projects 2023

After the Seminars Abroad in Asia and the Americas, the project teams look back on their experiences and share their lessons learned for the coming generation of ISPs.

This article was jointly written by the communications and project teams of Insight China, Focus India, connectUS, exploreASEAN and HOLATAM.

Time flies fast when you are having an amazing experience! All five International Student Projects have planned, organised and run unforgettable preparatory and on-site seminars – as the projects are now slowly coming to an end, it is time to look back on what we, as project and communications team members, have learned and experienced within the last couple of months.

Our biggest learning

With no doubt we can say: every communications and project manager has gained valuable skills and insights while participating in the project. This includes the whole organisation of the study-trip, arranging meetings, accommodations and transportation, managing the budget and timelines, handling all the social media channels and the website, as well as the coordination with other projects, which improved our understanding of each other and resulted in better communication. But besides all these different tasks, there was one key learning we take with us: always keeping the various stakeholders in mind with all their different needs and requirements.

Since these stakeholders represent various cultures, unsurprisingly, after working on the projects for several months, our cultural awareness of each region has increased immensely. We were able to dive into diverse cultures and countries and enjoy intensive, intercultural exchange with different kinds of people on site. These networking opportunities have increased our interpersonal skills and led to more self-awareness. We were pushed out of our comfort zones and fully embraced it!

Challenges and how we managed them

It was not just roses and sunshine, of course. There have been hurdles for all five projects. The projects brought together different people from different backgrounds, with different mindsets and know-how. Thoughtful coordination and communication therefore were key – and it took us some time to find each other and manage the different styles of working. Also, only because the seminar programme existed in writing, it was never guaranteed that things would work out perfectly according to plan. Being on time or exact planning does not have the same value in all cultures: we had to learn to be flexible, agile, and quickly adapt to unforeseen situations to find a suitable alternative in the fastest way possible. Another issue some projects encountered, was managing the differing viewpoints of the participants. It was clear from the beginning that not everyone had the same interests and expectations for the on-site seminars. This was actually learning-by-doing, as we did not know how the participants would react once we were abroad.

Next year’s projects are starting soon!

Overall in 2023, Insight China, Focus India, connectUS, exploreASEAN and HOLATAM have all had great experiences and we could all learn so many things.

The end of this year’s projects is at the same time the start of the next generation. Based on our inputs from this year, the new project and communications teams will take over and start planning inspiring learning experiences in fascinating destinations for the 2024 ISP seminars. Being part of an International Student Project as an organising member is not just about the unique Seminar in Switzerland and the unforgettable journey of the Seminar Abroad, but very much about the whole planning, organising, communicating, maintaining the social media platforms, and so much more that make the learning experience possible.

Our final message goes to the potential next ISP generation: there are so many reasons why you should take the opportunity and apply for one of the 2024 ISP editions; do get in touch with us to find out.

The School of Business is ready for your application and will invite you to submit it soon - and we can’t wait for you to become a part of something incredible!

International Student Projects of the FHNW School of Business

Insight China

Focus India