During the 2012 NAFSA Conference and Expo, the GoAbroad Team was pleased to announce the winners of the 2012 Innovation Awards. As part of a continued effort to recognize the hard work and dedication this year’s nominees, GoAbroad will be sharing individual features of the 2012 GoAbroad Innovation Awards finalists over the coming weeks. This week, we are thrilled to bring you the Innovative New Program, Study Abroad Award finalists!
Please join us in congratulating the following Finalist of the Innovative New Program, Study Abroad Award:
University of Maryland
“Microfinance in Action”
The R.H. Smith School at the University of Maryland (UM) with the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) offered an innovative, experiential undergraduate study abroad Microfinance in Action course in Winter 2012 in Nicaragua. Course goals were for the students to use knowledge gained in undergraduate courses, experience entrepreneurial operations first hand, and positively impact the lives of people in an international community.
The students were consultants for Opportunity International (OI), a nonprofit organization that provides microfinance loans and training to millions of people in developing countries. Students also worked with entrepreneurs in the town of San Juan del Sur, including a taxi driver, microlender, clothing store, and grocery store owners. While these entrepreneurs had no business background, they brought to the table their knowledge of the culture, their clientele’s likes/dislikes, and where to find the best wholesale deals. The students developed strategies for accounting/budgeting and taught basic computer literacy skills including spreadsheet creation and business principles such as the importance of reinvesting in the business and the significance of product placements.