SELF & BLP in Slovenia
- Study key elements of Slovenia’s business and engineering culture in the unique setting of a country in economic transition.
- Meet industry experts, government officials, and work side-by-side with local Slovene students.
- Explore the cultural, political, and social differences between Slovenia and the US.
- Experience the breathtaking natural beauty of one of Europe’s best kept secrets.
BLP and SELF in Slovenia is a joint program between the SELF Engineering Leadership Fellows Program and the Business Leadership Program. The program offers students a unique opportunity to study the business and engineering practices of Slovenia, a key location in Eastern Europe. Students will experience the local culture and learn about Slovenia’s most important business, engineering, and governmental practices through guided tours, site visits, and guest lectures. The program will explore the ways in which Slovenia has embraced its strategic location, unique history, and diverse geography to position itself as an important player in Europe.
Slovenia is a small, picturesque country at the crossroads of Europe’s most important trade routes. Located on the Adriatic Sea in Eastern Europe, Slovenia has been inhabited since prehistoric times and can trace its history through the Roman Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Gaining independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, Slovenia is today a member of the European Union and NATO.
With snow-capped Alpine peaks, turquoise rivers, and medieval castles, Slovenia is well-known for its natural beauty and offers a picturesque backdrop for exploration of its business and engineering industries. The group will primarily be based in the capital of Ljubljana, a city of approximately 290,000. Slovenia’s strategic location and influence from a variety of European cultures make it an interesting case study of globalization and integration into the European economy.
Three hours of academic credit are granted by the University of Kansas upon successful completion of the program. BLP students will enroll in the course IBUS 500: Individual Research in International Business and SELF students will enroll in ENGR 360: Special Topics: SELF and BLP in Slovenia.
Course content will involve pre-trip meetings and learning about Slovenia, on-site lectures, guided tours, site visits, meetings with Slovenian representatives from a variety of sectors, readings, and personal reflection.
Students can expect to gain knowledge of Slovenia and the complexity of its history, politics, economy, culture, and business and engineering practices; skills in comparing and analyzing different cultures; a deeper understanding of the culture of engineers and the culture of business students; insight into different cultural practices and how they relate to engineering and business practices; and an enhanced appreciation for cultural differences.
Students will get to know the country of Slovenia and its people through a variety of program activities including meetings with executives from various business and engineering firms, site visits to Slovenian government ministries and universities, cultural activities, and more.
TENTATIVE 2020 Program Itinerary
May 18: Depart U.S. - Group flight information will be provided to all accepted students
May 19: Arrive in Ljubljana, Slovenia
- Guided walk of Old Town Ljubljana
- River boat cruise
- Welcome dinner
May 20-22: Visits to various Slovenian government ministries, private industries, and cultural sites. Sample visits include:
- American Chamber of Commerce
- Trimo Trebnje
- University of Ljubljana
- Ljubljana Castle with funicular ride and dinner in the castle
May 23-24: Weekend in Piran, Slovenia, the "Slovenian Riviera" with a day trip to Venice, Italy
May 25-27: Continue visits to various Slovenian government ministries, private industries, and cultural sites. Sample visits include:
- ABC Accelerator
- Grah Lighting
- Lake Bled, including Bled castle, a boat ride to Bled Island, and a farewell dinner
May 28: Depart for US
Open to freshman and sophomore students in the SELF Engineering Leadership Program and the Business Leadership Program only. A minimum GPA of 2.5 is required (exceptions considered with submission of a petition).
Jennifer Harrison is the Director of the Business Leadership Program and the Jack Dicus Business Honors Program at the KU School of Business. A native Kansan raised in Ulysses, Harrison holds a B.A. from KU in Philosophy and Political Science and earned her law degree at Harvard Law School. Prior to returning to KU in 2016 to teach business law, she practiced law in Colorado for more than a decade. She continues to teach courses in business law and negotiations and co-directed the BLP study abroad program to Slovenia in 2019.
Corey Behrens is Program Director for the Self Engineering Leadership Fellows Program in the KU School of Engineering.
Adam Smith is the Assistant Director for Leadership Programs in the School of Engineering. With the SELF Program, Adam is responsible for the development of the first and second year cohorts. Adam is a graduate of the University of Kansas (2012) with a degree in Atmospheric Sciences. He holds an MA in Educational Administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is currently a PhD candidate in KU's department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies with a research interest in queer identity development. Adam is co-leading the SELF & BLP in Slovenia program for the second year in a row.