Thursday, January 21, 2010

Real estate students travel to South Africa

The Wisconsin School of Business offers many opportunities to study internationally, including trips overseas during winter break. Two separate groups visited Argentina, and the second-year real estate students traveled to Brazil. Five of the first-year real estate students, including myself, participated in an international business course trip to South Africa this January.

There, we had the opportunity to meet with the leadership teams of international companies in Johannesburg. We saw newly implemented processes in a Ford automobile

factory, visited the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, and talked with SAB Miller, the company that acquired Miller Brewing. After traveling to Cape Town, we met with two entrepreneurial companies, one that enables local farmers to produce at living wages, and another firm started by a UW alum that recycles and manufactures plastics.

We also had time to see the unique cultural and natural attribute
s of South Africa, including Nelson Mandela’s home and the site of his former incarceration. Our trip to Kruger National Park reminded me of Yellowstone, but instead of driving among buffalo and cougars we saw wildebeests and lions. Finally, we visited the wine region of Stellenbosch, sort of the South African Napa Valley.

A couple tips if you find yourself in South Africa: “pap” is a type of corn-based grits that is friendly for your fellow vegan travelers, also, it is illegal to get out of your car when you are in the vicinity of lions.

Travis Campbell is a first year MBA student in the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate at the Wisconsin School of Business. He is glad to be home after extensive traveling over winter recess, but he is apprehensive to start this new semester.

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