CSI student Kaitlin Barr, a senior majoring in International Business, has headed to the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) to study there this spring. Barr, the first CSI student to participate in the exchange program with DIT, is the recipient of a Lorraine and Gordon DiPaolo Scholarship, which is providing her with $3,000 for study in Europe.

“As an international business major, I feel that studying overseas is integral to the completion of my degree,” says Barr. “Studying abroad is an eye-opening adventure. There are books, teachers, and lectures that can tell you about foreign places, but there is no substitute for living and learning in another country.”

Barr, who also had the opportunity to study in Paris in the summer of 2007, adds, “I was excited to hear that CSI had started an exchange program with Dublin Institute of Technology, as Irish literature, music, and schools are held in high regard, and the people are friendly, gregarious, and hard-working. As a business student it would be wonderful to share perspectives on the relationship of Ireland with the rest of the world. Their economic growth has placed Ireland in the forefront within the business world. I am eager to learn new ways of thinking, living, learning, and be able to appreciate how culture determines the world’s many values and behaviors.”

The College of Staten Island continues to expand its relationship with Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), the largest institution of higher learning in Ireland. The CSI/DIT partnership began in 2004 when CSI Professor of Business Alan Zimmerman visited DIT on a Fulbright scholarship. “We’ve had many DIT visitors here since then. And I’ve been back there several times for various reasons,” Zimmerman reports. Just last October, Zimmerman went to DIT to serve as an external reviewer for their international business master’s program, “which involves going there and going over all their exams and dissertations required for their degree—reading those and rendering an opinion on the program. I found it to be world-class quality.”

DIT faculty, such as Eoghan O’Grady, head of the Management Undergraduate degree, the largest business program at DIT, and Mary Faulkner, the director of DIT’s Master’s program in International Business, have recently visited CSI. DIT also sent its first exchange students, Andrea Wilson and Matthew Cook, who just returned to Ireland after participating in CSI’s Exchange Ambassador’s Program last fall.

Zimmerman underscores the importance of student exchanges by noting, “to be exposed to other students from another country, this is a tremendous thing—especially not just for a day or two but for months on end. I know my students became very friendly with Matt and Andrea and they learned a lot because even though they speak English like we do, their culture is entirely different from ours, as I learned when I was on my Fulbright. They’re getting a real insight into how other people live and I think that’s such a critical part of your education.”

Barr seems to agree with Zimmerman’s assessment. “Anyone who has the opportunity to travel abroad has the opportunity to broaden their intellectual horizons and gain an understanding of political, economic, and international issues. Besides personal growth, this experience has many other positive outcomes. Some that I think are particularly important are seeing where the United States as a country stands in the eyes of foreigners, making new friends you would have never met, and most importantly, it will set me apart from other job seekers in a very competitive job market. Employers seek graduates who have studied abroad, and I know this experience will enhance my career in the future.”

The newest addition to the strengthening relationship between CSI and DIT will be trip for graduate business students that Prof. Zimmerman is arranging for May. “We will take a select group to Dublin for lectures, company visits and research,” says Zimmerman, “it’s a unique experience for our graduate students to apply what they have learned in our MS program to a foreign setting.”

DiPaolo Scholarship Funds Study in Dublin