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Two Professors Take Students Abroad for Summer Study

First-hand knowledge makes for enlightening experiences

Twenty-five students from Sacred Heart University discovered last summer that there’s nothing like learning about fashion branding in Paris, or comparing the U.S. health system to those elsewhere than by actually going to other countries.

Business Professor David Bloom took 11 students to Paris for three weeks to teach them fashion brand marketing, while Donna Bowers, professor and department chair for the physical therapy program, shepherded 14 students to Luxembourg for two weeks to learn about comparative health.

Nestled in France’s fashion mecca, Bloom taught his students about the branding process and understanding the supply chain. He said he wanted the students to compare and contrast the concept of luxury in the United States and Paris.

“The benefit of going to Paris was that France was our classroom,” Bloom said after the trip concluded. “Teaching students about luxury in the Martire center is very different from talking about luxury at the Champs-Élysées.”

Bloom said even the Parisians’ attire was a lesson for the students. “The way the men and women dress in Paris, it’s very fashion-forward,” he said.

Eleven female students—nine seniors and two juniors—joined Bloom and his wife on the trip. “They loved it,” he said. “It was an eye-opening experience for them. It was amazing and enlightening.”

When the students were not in their Parisian classroom, learning from Bloom and guest speakers, they were out viewing fashion shows and visiting cultural sites, including the grand, art nouveau department store, Galeries Lafayette; the home of famed artist Claude Monet, founder of the French impressionism form of painting; the offices of Paris Match magazine; and the Louis Vuitton store on the Champs-Élysées.

Senior Claudia Guariglia, a marketing major with a double minor in digital advertising and fashion merchandising, said she decided to attend Bloom’s summer class “because I feel Paris is the greatest place to study fashion, and I knew the experience would be unforgettable. I think this class was better to take in Paris because Professor Bloom allowed us to work first-hand, comparing the cultures and differences of American versus French luxury.”

Guariglia added that she enjoyed learning alongside women who had the same interests as she does and were excited to take part in a great opportunity.

Luxembourg welcomes 14 for comparative health course

Just north of France, tucked between Belgium and Germany, Luxembourg gave 14 physical therapy students from SHU a different learning environment for their intensive, two-week, comparative health course. Bowers has offered the course for the past three years.

“What we do is look at the structure of the U.S. healthcare system and compare it to other countries,” Bowers said. The class examines each country’s history, culture and values and how those elements affect their health-care system and health outcomes of the population.

The class spent a good deal of time visiting hospitals and rehabilitations centers. Students shadowed health professionals to see for themselves what was similar to, and different from, health care in the United States, Bowers said.

The class also went to Heidelberg, Germany, to learn more about health care overseas and to visit sites in the picturesque city. “We had a nice cultural exchange there with the faculty from a physical therapy program at SRH Hochschule Heidelberg,” Bowers said.

The overseas experience was important for those who participated in the class, according to Bowers. “This class has to be taught abroad,” she said. “Students gain first-hand knowledge of the ways health-care systems differ. They don’t know it unless they experience it.”

To learn more about studying abroad, click here.