February 23, 2015
Students got a break from the cold this winter with a study abroad trip to The Drury Center in Aigina, Greece. This wasn’t an island getaway — it was a service-learning experience that taught students about community, sustainability and culture. It also met the study abroad requirement for the Breech School of Business, emphasizing Drury’s mission of global awareness.
During the 16-day trip, students learned about the history of Greece, visited local businesses, ate traditional Greek food and worked to build a garden for a food bank on the island of Aigina.
“Studying abroad exposes students to a variety of cultures and opens their minds to other ways of considering business,” said Dr. Robin Sronce, a management professor at Drury who led the trip along with finance professor Dr. James Simmerman. “That’s what we’re trying to achieve — this intercultural competence. It gives them more confidence to interact in global settings.”
Abby Schumacher, a junior marketing and management major, took part in the trip and enjoyed volunteering with local community members on the service project.
“We were so passionate about helping and it was cool seeing us working together to get this big project done,” said Schumacher. “We were able to work together to make something happen.”
For the service project, students worked with an Aigina volunteer organization to clean and preserve trails on the island, and planted a garden. The harvested food would later be distributed to families in need.
This is the third year that Drury students have helped grow and maintain a community garden in Greece, where DU has maintained a campus since 2002. This year, however, the garden was relocated and the students had to start nearly from scratch. They planted rows of lettuce, onion, spinach, broccoli and other vegetables.
Schumacher also noted how the trip changed her perspective about the global community.
“This trip definitely made me more aware of my surroundings and how different cultures interact,” said Schumacher. “It was an amazing experience and I hope to get the chance to travel more in the future.”
By Kaleigh Jurgensmeyer, a senior English and writing major at Drury. A version of this story originally appeared in the Springfield News-Leader.