"Ohhh!" Three Chinese students experience a mutual burst of insight. Two of them, David and Chris, study at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. A third, Mandy, came to Goizueta Business School from Cass Business School in London. Relieved, I realize my latest explanation, that a baseball player runs to first base even when he knows he cannot run safely beyond it because he trusts his teammate next up to bat might help him advance around the diamond, clears up quite a bit.
Before I convinced 50 students in Fall 2008 to accompany me, via Atlanta's public transit system, to one of the Braves’ final home games, I failed to understand just how difficult baseball is to explain. There, perched high in the ballpark behind home plate, pointing out the differences between foul and fair balls, I get it. But baseball is about more than the infield fly rule. This is quintessential America. The $1 hotdogs (limit 3). The $6.75 beer, for those lucky enough to be older than 21. The mixed crowd of unruly fraternity brothers across the stadium, teenaged soldier in uniform three rows below us escorting his girlfriend to and from the concession stand, and old-timers watching the game with earphones to simultaneously hear the radio broadcast.
Marcel and Monica snap dozens of photographs. Everyone wants a pose with the lighted field at his back, grinning and mugging. Felipe dons a pair of outrageous sunglasses, donated by Natalie, to attract the roving audience camera. It works. "We're on the big screen!" More cameras click to capture that flash of fame. The students love it.
After avalanches of visa paperwork and acres of emailed questions, bringing students to Goizueta Business School for a period of academic exchange is about this: changing lives. Their exposure to the United States, not solely as tourists this time but as students at an astoundingly resourced and deeply enriching university, will change them. Forever after, they will think of the Woodruff Library and our dedicated librarian—just for BBAs!—when they need to check out a book. The smorgasbord of food at the all-you-can-eat Dobbs University Center cafeteria will come to mind the next time they grab a snack between classes at their home universities. Seated in the back of lecture halls, listening to esteemed faculty members, they will remember the hands-on group project s and presentations expected of them at Goizueta.
I can try all I like to explain just how different our university is from their home school. Sure, the classes cover similar material, and fellow students are just as interested in bargain basement prices for everything from textbooks to tacos. But it's not until they set foot on campus that the international students realize what I've been trying to tell them. "Ohhh!" Their faces light up. I see that Emory University has a whole new legion of dedicated fans. This is quintessential higher education. And they love it.
Dr. Valerie Molyneaux joined BBA Program Office in January after five previous years of service at Emory in the Division of Campus Life. If your student wants to discuss exciting study abroad opportunities, she can be found in Goizueta 316.