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Service Learning and Global Marketing in Antigua

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Matt Hewitt

During a recent college break, a group of nine Olivet College students traveled to Antigua for the business course called Global Marketing Perspectives. The travel learning experience allows students to immerse themselves in the Caribbean culture of marketing and international business, as well as deliver toys to children hospitalized or in special needs facilities over the holidays. Matt Hewitt, a senior business administration major from Hastings, tells us about his experience preparing for the trip and during his time in Antigua.

Matt chose to study business administration with a concentration in management because he eventually wants run his own business. “I like challenging myself to become a better person, and by getting this degree, I want to be able to use it to expand my options out of college,” Matt explained. Matt has already received a full-time job offer in inventory management at a fiberglass manufacturer in his hometown after he graduates this spring. “I have been working there throughout college, during summer breaks and Christmas breaks. This has allowed me to gain valuable knowledge about the company and industry, and I am able to come out of school and get right into the job with little training needed,” he said.

When it comes to the Global Marketing Perspectives course, Matt played a pivotal part in the ongoing management process of gathering donations, planning next steps and ensuring each member of the class had a role. He helped the class connect with Kiwanis International, a service club devoted to helping people through projects and partnerships, which allowed students to deliver Christmas presents to sick and underprivileged children in Antigua.

“Before going on the trip, I worked with a few companies to sponsor a Christmas party down in Antigua for local children,” Matt said. “Unfortunately, we were unable to have a party because of COVID; however, we were able to donate over 160 stuffed animals to kids on the island. We donated to three different groups, Kiwanis International, The Care Project and the Medical Center of Antigua. They were all very happy with the gifts.”

The donated gifts were especially meaningful to children with The Care Project. The organization had just learned that donated toys for their Christmas party would not arrive on the island in time for the holiday due to shipping issues. The class was able to deliver replacement toys just a week before their holiday celebration.

Students delivering holiday gifts to Antiguan children on the trip.

“I decided to go on this trip because I had never been out of the country, and it was a lot cheaper than trying to go on my own by organizing it as a class,” Matt said. “Overall, the trip was amazing. Getting to visit another country was a great experience, and I was able to do it with some of my friends while also meeting new people. I think it shows how great Olivet is that they allow students to take trips like this with their teachers and get credit for it. While on the trip we learned endless things about business and life skills. I think the thing that stood out the most from the whole trip was how welcoming everyone was on the island and how much they enjoyed having us. Everywhere we went people would offer to have us come into their homes and businesses.”

Another experience that stood out to Matt was visiting the Port Authority of Antigua, one local business where students networked with industry professionals to learn about best practices and marketing tactics used outside of the United States. While there, students were able to witness a port system that they learned had been inefficient for over 50 years. They got to see just how much it had changed as well as every aspect of imports and customs through all goods in the Caribbean.

“During this trip, I had an amazing time learning how these business people started from nothing and worked their way up to make big businesses,” Matt said. “One in particular was the Port Authority of Antigua. We met with the port master and learned all the renovations that they had just done, and by looking at that, I was able to see a side of inventory that a lot of people never see. I was able to watch cargo ships moving about, ships getting unloaded and cargo moving amongst the port. It really opened my eyes to see how much actually goes on for one part to get from one side of the world to the other.”

In addition to the service projects and examination of global marketing, students also had time to enjoy the local Antigua culture and landscape. “Antigua has over 365 beaches and the few we went to were absolutely amazing. Along with the beaches, I even brought a fishing pole that fit in my suitcase. My classmates and I used it to catch a bunch of fish of many different species,” Matt added. “Being able to travel and get credits for it as a class was one of the best decisions I have ever made. A travel course gets you connected to the country you are visiting way more than if you were just a regular tourist.”

The business administration major at Olivet College offers four unique concentrations, industry-leading internship opportunities, travel learning courses and much more. Learn more about Olivet College by contacting the Office of Admission at 800-456-7189 or admissions@olivetcollege.edu.

This feature was written by senior Chad Enwright, marketing and multi-media student associate. He is the Gillette Student Village apartment manager, a member of the football team, president of Phi Beta Lambda and a business administration major who aspires to invent and operate his own high-tech, home security and automation business.

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