Study Abroad Management Programs: Strategies for Enhancing Returns

Study Abroad Management Programs: Strategies for Enhancing Returns

Neeta Baporikar (Namibia University of Science and Technology, Namibia & University of Pune, India)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3814-1.ch008

Abstract

Combination of study undertaken in the native settings, combined with abroad studies, creates better environment for acquiring holistic perspectives. This is truer for management programs due to globalized business environment. Consequently, thousands depart annually for education abroad experiences with the expectation that they will become better professionals and return home with significantly enhanced/advanced competencies and skills. However, learning in a foreign milieu may not always be superior to learning at home. Indeed, the extent to which the study abroad programs aid in becoming successful is dependent on a vast number of variables. Hence, the objective of this chapter is to have a clearer understanding of how study abroad programs function in the development of students' professional competencies. Adopting a case-based approach, the focus is on Omani students' experiences related to management programs. It also aims to provide strategies to enhance the returns from study abroad management programs in general and especially for students of Oman.
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Background

Arab societies are currently in a state of confusion. Problems of underdevelopment, inequity, institutional deficiencies, and illiteracy are rampant (Arab Human Development Report, 2002). Arabs seem to be in a futile search for a new identity in a world that is transforming; power structures are shifting, societal expectations are changing, and male-female relations are developing. The Arabs seem to yearn for a new identity that does not displace them from their roots, and at the same time connects them to the future; the search seems incessantly fruitless. Even non-Arabs seem to be confused about the issue leading to inner culture conflict. Culture resides at multiple levels, from civilizations, nations, organizations to groups (Shein, 1985) and it is generally defined as the enduring set of beliefs, values, and ideologies underpinning structures, processes, and practices that distinguishes one group of people from another. The groups of people may be at school level—organizational culture, or at national level—societal culture (Walker & Dimmock, 2002, p. 16).

We are familiar with what are termed Western and Eastern cultures, as well as American or Mexican cultures (Shein, 1985, 2004). Similarly, India has Hindu and the non-Hindu cultures, in New Zealand (NZ), there are Maori and Pakeha cultures, and in the Middle East there are Shia and Sunni cultures. At lower levels, there exist occupational and business cultures. Further there are the patriarchal versus matriarchal culture prevalent among many. Patriarchy (Celikten, 2005), also called androcentrism i.e., ‘viewing the world and shaping reality through a male lens’ (Hough, 1986 as cited in Hall, 1996, p. 23), is an ideology embedded in many cultures both in the developed and developing world (Oplatka, 2006).

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