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 2019 Program Itinerary
May 20: Depart U.S. - Group flight information will be provided to all accepted students
May 21: Arrive in Ljubljana, Slovenia
- Guided walk of Old Town Ljubljana
- River boat cruise
- Welcome dinner
May 22-24: 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 25-26: Weekend in Piran, Slovenia, the "Slovenian Riviera" with a day trip to Venice, Italy
May 27-29: 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 30: 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).
John Hedeman is the Director of the Business Leadership Program and the Business Honors Program at the KU School of Business. Prior to coming to KU, he was assistant dean in the University of Illinois College of Business where he implemented an undergraduate business honors leadership program. As a lifelong educator, he has served in a variety of roles in secondary and higher education including teaching, counseling, and dean of students at Parkland College. Hedeman holds a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois and has previously led student trips to Europe, Asia, and South America. This will be Hedeman’s third consecutive year leading the SELF & BLP study abroad program to Slovenia.
Adam Smith is Program Facilitator for the Self Engineering Leadership Fellows Program in the KU School of Engineering.