SARASOTA, Fla. (March 7, 2018) – USF Sarasota-Manatee is welcoming two Belgian students through a unique program coordinated by USFSM’s Global Engagement Office and Odisee University College in Brussels.
Barbara De Beer, an accounting and tax law student, and Ken Houtevelts, a business marketing student, arrived about three weeks ago.
“We have a great partnership with the Odisee University and are pleased to facilitate this cultural and educational exchange of students,” Amela Malkic, director of the Global Engagement Office, said. “Barbara and Ken are excited about their internships and we are delighted to welcome them.”
The students, both seniors, will be on campus through May when they return to Odisee for graduation. Until then, they’ll work alongside USFSM business professors. Both students are fluent in English.
Houtevelts is assisting Dr. James Curran, dean of the College of Business, with a marketing project that examines why students choose particular majors. De Beer is helping finance instructor Dr. Thomas Pencek with a study of the U.S. and European economies.
Her visit also is allowing her to take advantage of a learning tool to help USFSM students explore the world financial markets: the computer terminals at the David Kotok and Cumberland Advisors Bloomberg Lab on the campus’ second floor.
“I didn’t know anything about Bloomberg terminals before I got here, so this has been very exciting,” she said.
Bloomberg terminals are used by financial advisors and Wall Street traders to track stocks and other investment vehicles and to monitor world economic and financial news. The lab and a dozen terminals, a rarity at colleges, were gifts last spring of Sarasota-based Cumberland Advisors and Chief Investment Officer David Kotok.
Dr. Curran said he’s happy to welcome the students to USFSM.
“Bringing international students here to USFSM presents an exciting opportunity to exchange ideas about educational and, in our case, business practices,” he said. “The visiting students share their perspectives with students and faculty while learning about local perspectives on the same topics. This can be a great experience for everyone involved. Often, these types of student exchanges extend well beyond educational experiences, and long-term friendships can begin.”
For their part, the two said they feel fortunate to study here. They said they’re enjoying the campus’ amenities, including the fitness center, and Sarasota’s beaches, museums and other attractions.
When not studying, they’re hoping to travel the state to sample American culture. De Beer said she wants to visit Orlando’s Universal Studios, while Houtevelts, a soccer enthusiast, wants to take in a sporting event, possibly an NBA game.
“I’ve heard so much about how Americans are big sports fans,” he said, adding that he’d also like to visit Miami.
This summer, USF Sarasota-Manatee students will get their chance to travel as well. For 11 days, Dr. Pencek will lead USF and USFSM students on a study-abroad trip to Odisee University College in central Brussels.
The students will learn the inner-workings of the European Union, visit a chocolate factory, among other businesses, and hear from international financiers about their profession. The trip is one of several planned by the Global Engagement Office. USFSM and Odisee signed their partnership agreement last spring.
“It will give our students an opportunity to study the European Union, an important member of the world business community,” Dr. Pencek said. “They’ll be able to use this experience as they move forward in their careers.”