Almost 30 years on from the collapse of the Berlin Wall, these former Communist countries are busy reinventing themselves and creating a new position for themselves in a global economy. Familiar with the concept of ‘fake news’, propaganda and espionage, these relatively young democracies are using the lessons of the past to design a new future. Discover the most dynamic, affordable and surprising destinations to inspire your business students…
Possibly the most politically controversial of the five, Hungary continues to balance the needs of its powerful neighbors and the demands of a growing economy. Visits in the Hungarian capital expose students to a country keen to attract foreign investment whilst building a vibrant and powerful start-up scene. With renowned successes such as WizAir and Prezi and life-saving innovations through Turbine.AI (recently awarded Central European Startup of the Year), Hungarian innovations are gaining a lot of traction. Meanwhile, decades-long investments from GE, Audi and Suzuki take advantage of Hungary’s strong industrial base and engineering background. Yet it is Budapest, at the epicentre of this transformation, with its modern “ruin bars” and ornate architecture that makes Hungary an ideal cultural and academic base for a European study program.
2. The Czech Republic
With a long history of achievement in engineering and industry, the Czech Republic remains a manufacturing powerhouse embodied by firms such Skoda and Pilsner Urquell. Yet in recent years it has added dynamic tech companies like AVAST and Socialbakers to the corporate roll of honor. Since International Study Programs was founded here in 1999, we have introduced traveling students to innovative companies throughout the region and truly believe in the power of delivering experiential learning. Our itineraries typically incorporate topics such as labor relations at larger companies while also involving socially-driven organizations, such as Czechitas which aims to empower women in STEM fields. A highly affordable, and visually stunning country, Prague is also very safe and easy to navigate, making it a desirable option for less experienced travelers as well as seasoned globetrotters.
You may also like: Industry Focus – Cybersecurity study tour in Prague
Very much the rising star in Central Europe, Croatia is home to burgeoning automotive, cybersecurity and startup industries that are outshining neighboring countries. The innovation boost, driven mainly by young entrepreneurs, has created a ‘domino effect’ throughout the country. The openness of homegrown companies like Rimac, Degordian, and HUB 385, gives students the perfect chance to have frank discussions with management about running a successful business in a creative and highly-competitive environment. While vast investment opportunities certainly mark Croatia as one to watch, the spectacular Adriatic coastline, rolling hills and perpetual sunshine make this one of our most fulfilling programs for business students both academically and culturally.
Estonia has become renowned for the widespread and sheer speed at which its tech and startup industries have evolved since the fall of the Soviet Union. The country holds the record for startups per person while Tehnopol, a business hub and startup incubator in Tallinn, houses more than 150 innovative tech companies. Given such a small domestic market, entrepreneurs have been forced to think global from the outset; meaning homegrown services like Skype, Blockchain and TransferWise have put Estonia on the map and are showcasing the country as a true success story. Business students have a fantastic opportunity to understand Estonia’s remarkable growth, to meet those shaping innovation and to discover the value of setting up a business in the region. Meanwhile the enchanting scenery, perky capital and combination of Nordic, Germanic and Russian influence make Estonia a fascinating country for students to explore.
Learn more about our programs in Estonia
While the term “Emerging Markets” conjures up images of a third-world country that is coming into its own, Romania is a determined country undergoing steady transformation driven largely by its young and ambitious entrepreneurs. Alongside a thriving IT sector, large-scale manufacturing hub and tech scene, the country boasts creative social entrepreneurship schemes that are shaping a zealous future. Our visits to companies like VectorWatch, BitDefender and DACIA introduce students to top management and local entrepreneurs, whose innovative problem solving born under communism adds an interesting dimension to business practices in the region. Romania’s turbulent history, lively capital, quaint countryside and award-winning film industry are just a glimpse of what this extraordinary country has to offer traveling students.
Discover more about our programs in Romania
Did any of these destinations intrigue you?
Please get in touch and see what tailored study trip we can offer you…