Hands-on experiences key to students’ future learning

Hands-on experiences key to students’ future learning

Discover our impactful academic formats showcased during a recent study trip to South Africa

According to a recent study from Microsoft Corp., today’s generation lose their concentration after just eight seconds. This could explain why in recent years we have seen a notable shift from ‘conventional’ learning (one-way lectures), to academic events that encompass immediate, active and tactile experiences.

Our twenty years’ experience crafting study abroad trips with business schools have taught us that interactive, hands-on experiences are crucial for immersive learning.

Students are more likely to be actively engaged in immersion activities, case studies or interactive workshops, and more likely to remember key takeaways, and be ready to apply that knowledge to their (future) careers.

At International Study Programs, we match clients’ objectives with the expertise of our 25,000+ global network. The art is in selecting the right company, speaker and format, wherever the group may travel.

This is what we have observed:


Destinations that provide the largest contrast to their home country (plus variations within the destination country) create a significant impact on students. The experience is often most profound when academic formats such as case studies, company visits or panel discussions allow students to apply their skills and gain first-hand knowledge of business in the destination country.

Local manifestations of global trends are particularly interesting, and we work with business schools to design events accordingly. Topics such as the US-China trade war, shared economies, cryptocurrency, big data, and women in leadership are ever popular with traveling groups.


Entrepreneurial labs (a format where students join professional conversations and workshops with local startups) are hugely favored among undergraduates. Meanwhile, social entrepreneurship is becoming increasingly popular for the chance to gain new perspectives, open students’ eyes and make a difference within the local community.

We often combine social entrepreneurship schemes with consulting projects or volunteering experience to challenge (largely MBA/EMBA) students and professional groups to solve real-world challenges faced by local companies. These formats are designed to enhance analytical thinking, teamwork and project management.

As a recent example: Slipping into consultants’ shoes, students from the University of Notre Dame (Mendoza College of Business) were asked to research, formulate and propose solutions to the owner of a social project, Khayelitsha Cookies in Cape Town, South Africa.

Watch a summary of one of our Consulting Projects with a social project, Khayelitsha Cookies


Debrief sessions – incorporated into each program day – not only give traveling groups a fantastic opportunity for self-reflection, but also provide us with valuable feedback to improve our services.

They allow students to formulate key takeaways, including cultural awareness and leadership lessons. It also deepens their acquired experience and knowledge that ultimately contributes to a higher degree of overall satisfaction.


If you are interested in furthering a conversation about our academic formats
or how we design forward-thinking experiences, please get in touch today.