During the 2023 winter session, a group of University of Delaware students traveled 1000 miles across the globe to study workplace culture in the Down Under. 100 years earlier, UD study abroad found its roots as America’s first study abroad program in 1923, when it was brought to life by UD Professor Raymond W. Kirkbride and University President Walter S. Hullihen, two individuals who saw the potential that international travel and study had for promoting cross-cultural understanding. Created despite challenges including the university’s refusal to fund research overseas, difficulties in logistics for travel and lodging, and isolationist tendencies following the war, Kirkbride and Hullihen’s efforts have enabled U.S. students at UD and elsewhere to study across the globe. Although Horn Entrepreneurship’s individual history with study abroad may not reach back quite as far, we are excited to celebrate the progress made, optimism for future courses, and the success of our latest study abroad offerings in Winter 2023’s workplace culture course in Australia and social entrepreneurship & disability studies in Thailand(recap to come!).
Studying Entrepreneurship Abroad
Learning outside of the usual classroom setting is proven to do wonders in engaging students, and what better place to do it than “down under” in Australia. With perfect weather, a diverse ecosystem filled with unique wildlife, and beautiful scenery, nature alone might bring you to visit the world’s smallest continent. But while the class appreciated all of the grand and amazing natural attractions, they also took some time to focus on their studies and take trips to familiarize themselves with Australia’s robust startup scene.
The days were filled with excursions to tourist attractions like beaches, wildlife centers, cricket games, and the infamous Sydney Opera House, as well as innovation-focused spaces like the Sydney Startup Hub, a publicly funded space that entrepreneurs can use for free while working on their ventures. Balancing academia and fun, the course exposes students to not only the sights and experiences of other countries but also the workplace cultural environment.
“The Australia study abroad trip was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that truly challenged me to break out of my shell and immerse myself in different cultural experiences,” said Lynn Roberts, an entrepreneurship student on the trip. “The great weather and fast pace learning experience was a great change of pace compared to class in the States.”
The Entrepreneurship & Workplace Culture Studies class in front of the Sydney Harbour and Bridge.
Understanding Workplace Culture and Its Role
In 2018, Horn Entrepreneurship adjunct faculty member Nat Measley pitched a new course offering for the University of Delaware focused on Entrepreneurship & Workplace Culture. In short, to ask, at what point should an entrepreneur start caring about their people? And, in turn, what do those people need or want to be successful? Also, what factors affect any group of humans working together?
Now, more than 4 years later, the study has evolved. We've taken the course to Australia (twice), Hawaii, and online. Part of the course requires students to identify a complex workplace culture problem and then, based on the coursework and research, design solutions.
Workplace culture problems considered in the 2023 winter session by our group studying abroad Down Under (Visit Australia) included:
-Holistic Study on Equitable Access for All Employees
-Vulnerability in Leadership & Effects on Culture
-Small Firm Culture & Management Communication
-Executive Mission & Vision Effects on the Employee Experience
-Intern & New Employee Orientation's Effectiveness
Lessons From Familiar Faces
The Entrepreneurship & Workplace Culture Studies class with Horn Entrepreneurship alums Lilly Checkoff and Madison Topczewski.
While in Australia, Horn Entrepreneurship alums turned ex-pats Lilly Checkoff and Madison Topczewski joined up with our group to share as guest speakers. Both had previously taken Professor Measley’s course abroad, with Checkoff studying in Hawaii and Topczewski in Australia, giving them an understanding of the content and concepts the group were focused on. Looking back on their experiences working abroad, the two UD graduates shared their takeaways about Australian workplace culture and the differences from the U.S. they noticed from living and working there to give the class a different perspective in order to better identify and create solutions.
Lynn Roberts prepping for a workshop
Another unique experience on the trip came from UD student Lynn Roberts, who is also the founder of a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) startup called Yuda. Pulling from that background, Roberts led a workshop for the group titled “The Hero’s Journey”.
The main topics in the workshop included the personal hero's journey, DEI basics, and vulnerability. Students were given the chance to share their heroes' journeys and stories close to their hearts to increase vulnerability within the group. DEI topics were used to increase the depth of the conversation and highlight life vulnerability from different perspectives.
From The Photo Gallery
Entrepreneurship & Workplace Culture Studies students playing a game during one of the trip's many workshops.
A picture from the group taken of the Sydney Opera House across the harbor at night.
Sophomore Hunter Wills petting a kangaroo at the Featherdale Wildlife Center
About Horn Entrepreneurship
Horn Entrepreneurship serves as the creative engine for entrepreneurship education and advancement at the University of Delaware. Currently ranked among the best entrepreneurship programs in the US, Horn Entrepreneurship was built and is actively supported by successful entrepreneurs, empowering aspiring innovators as they pursue new ideas for a better world.