Four years ago, Durham College (DC) started an innovative Working Across Borders (WAB) course for business students, which allows them to engage with various international institutions around the world through virtual collaborative learning. The project provides participants with opportunities to experience multicultural perspectives while developing sustainable real-world business solutions for internationally oriented clients.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, this fall more than 500 students from all over the world joined more than 120 DC students, many of which are international, from the Project Management and International Business Management post-graduate programs. Using the Rotary Global Classroom, DC’s live-stream venue, partners from Germany, Belgium, Slovenia, Netherlands, Russia, Finland, Italy, Ecuador, Bangladesh and Indonesia came together on October 19 for a kickoff session to discuss project details and to meet their teammates and 2020 WAB project partner and client, Seventh Generation.
Seventh Generation is an American-based company that produces eco-friendly cleaning and personal care products, whose mission is to help reduce the negative impact on human health and the environment. The organization’s chief marketing officer, Hanneke Willenborg, participated in the WAB event and provided students with invaluable insight to help guide their efforts.
“Products and businesses need to do more in this world than just work,” says Willenborg. “Companies need to be able to serve more than just their shareholders. We are delighted to see young global minds develop and generate brilliant insights and ideas to help solve complex sustainability and inequity challenges by being a part of Working Across Borders.”
WAB encourages students to work effectively in intercultural teams and explore business opportunities to achieve the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals in their work. The project focuses on online collaboration to prepare students for the real business world and raises awareness about today’s environmental issues to develop open-minded and responsible professionals.
“Working Across Borders encourages those involved to find effective ways to collaborate and overcome cultural barriers with people across the globe,” states Rogier Ten Kate, DC professor and one of the partners in the project. “Students have to solve a complex problem for a real client and build connections and friendships virtually and culturally. With this challenge, they will develop many valuable skills that will be helpful in their future endeavours.”
The WAB initiative continues to expand each year, which illustrates the importance of preparing students to build a sustainable future on a global scale.