DES MOINES – Around the world in 80 days? Guests at the annual International Festival at AIB College of Business went around the world in 60 minutes through the efforts of Kayla Vanderlaan of Newton and other exhibitors.
Students from the International Student Association as well as the International Business and Intercultural Communications and Customs classes created booths at the AIB Activities Center representing dozens of countries. Many students dressed in traditional garb from other nations, offering information about the native cultures and samples of their local cuisine.
This year, the event offered increased authenticity because of AIB’s dramatic rise in enrollment of international students. Brandon Ermels, head coach of AIB’s soccer teams – which played their first seasons last fall – lists men’s soccer players from 16 countries: the United States, Australia, Brazil, Bosnia , El Salvador, England, Honduras, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Liberia, Mexico, Nigeria and Trinidad and Tobago.
“That speaks a lot about the diversity of our campus,” Ermels says. “It also speaks to just how global the game itself is.”
The ISA student group was founded at AIB in 2011 to create a community of students – international and American – for the purpose of learning, exchanging and valuing diverse ideas and cultures. The group provides support for its members, connecting them to the college campus and the surrounding business community through mentoring and civic interaction.
AIB is committed to helping all its students adapt and thrive in the global economy. The college’s Business Administration and International Business associate degree prepares students to work abroad or in international departments within domestic companies. Their appreciation of worldwide diversity is enhanced through the study of cultural customs.
Practical experience comes from the International Business Practicum. It is a course that offers the opportunity to be immersed in another country for seven to nine days. The class traveled to Ireland, England and Italy in past years and to Paris this year.
Vanderlaan is earning an Associate in Applied Science degree in Sports and Event Management at AIB.