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Vol 40  No 9
January 31, 2008


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Internationalization brings unique opportunities to business student
by Meaghan Whelan

Kirk Barlow at the Great Wall of China in Beijing.

A partnership the Faculty of Business has developed with one of the top universities in China has resulted in an amazing experience for one of Memorial’s students.

Kirk Barlow, a term five bachelor of commerce student from P.E.I., spent the last semester on a co-op term in China, promoting Memorial and soaking up Asian culture.

Mr. Barlow’s work term took him half way around the world to Xi’an Jaio Tong University. The Faculty of Business has partnered with the university to offer the bachelor of business administration program to students there. It’s called a “two plus two” program, where students complete the first two years of the program in China, and then move to Canada to complete their final two years at Memorial. The first group of students from Xi’an Jaio Tong is set to arrive on campus in fall 2009.

Mr. Barlow was a Faculty of Business employee working as the international program assistant at Xi’an Jaio Tong, where he spoke to potential students and parents about Memorial and what to expect from life in Canada.

Having a supervisor on the other side of the world is an unusual situation for most co-op students, but Mr. Barlow took it in stride. He communicated regularly with his supervisor at Memorial, Prof. Mike Burns, the fellow in international business, about his experiences.

“Professor Burns and Dr. Gorman were very supportive and they gave me amazing opportunities,” Mr. Barlow said. During a tour of universities in China, former university president, Dr. Axel Meisen and Dr. Gary Gorman, dean of the Faculty of Business, invited Mr. Barlow to sit in on their meetings with university officials.

Mr. Barlow was keen to talk about his experience.

“When I saw the posting for this position, I thought it really seemed like an adventure. In the co-op program you have the opportunity to work anywhere in the world for four months, so why wouldn’t you?

“You can’t put a price tag on the experience I had. I learned a lot about the culture and history and I made connections that are invaluable. When you’re in China, you realize it’s a country waiting to explode with potential.”

Mr. Barlow credits his work term with creating a new plan for his future. Based on his experiences in the country, he plans on becoming an entrepreneur with a focus on the Chinese market.

“This work term made me realize how many untapped resources are available in the world. On every corner, you see a New York City being built. There is tremendous business potential. I think that China will change the world.”

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