We promote international understanding and cooperation that benefits academic, professional and intercultural activities. The relationship with our Belgian Partner, Odisee University, is key in encouraging international business and global business education. Dalton, Georgia has on-going sister-city agreement with our Chamber of Commerce and Dilbeek, Belgium. Both cities have ties to the carpet and floor covering industry. DSC is one of four Georgia universities offering study abroad opportunities to Belgium. The state has ties and there are approximately 44 Belgian facilities operating in Georgia, of which 14 (32%) are manufacturing locations. These Belgian-affiliated companies employ more than 2,800 Georgians. (www.workforce.georgia.gov/business-resources/international-relations/sister-cities-international-alliances/)
Since January, 2011, Odisee University, located in downtown Brussel, Belgium, has maintained a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the C. Lamar and Ann Wright School of Business (WSOB) to provide cultural and educational exchanges for students and faculty at both institutions. This partnership promotes international understanding and cooperation that benefits each institution’s academic, professional and intercultural activities. Odisee sends a group of Belgian business students in their final semester of study to DSC’s WSOB each spring semester. Odisee students studying at DSC also participate in area internship programs, working with local companies including US Floors, Inc., while completing business classes on the DSC campus. Odisee exchange students are housed on the DSC campus to experience college life in the United States and meet new friends.
As part of the exchange, WSOB students travel to Belgium between the spring and summer semesters to tour businesses in Belgium as well as take intense week-long classes with their Belgian student counterparts that are taught by both the WSOB faculty that accompany DSC students to Belgium, as well as business faculty from Odisee. US students visit NATO and the UN and even travel to nearby Paris, France for a cultural weekend experience. WSOB students have enjoyed their internationalization experience in Belgium and their reflective journals indicate their desire for further international travel and work abroad.
Several students from both schools have been known to stay in their host countries, after classes and internships are over, to take advantage of the many additional sites and attractions both countries have to offer, further extending the students’ international exchange experiences. Two of the Belgian students have even moved to the United States to complete a Master’s degree and have found jobs and later became US citizens. One Belgian remained in Georgia and one in our Dalton area.
All DSC WSOB students benefit from having the Belgian exchange students on our campus and in their business classes. They further a global mindset for US students who do not have an opportunity to travel abroad while at DSC.