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Business beyond borders

SAIT faculty and students travel to Zanzibar for international teachings

SAIT faculty and students travel to Zanzibar for international teachings

A team of faculty and students from the School of Business got an international education this summer as they traveled to an island country off the coast of Africa to share their skills with locals.

Four students from the School of Business traveled to Zanzibar this summer for the two faculty-led experiences. During each three-week trip, two students and one faculty member taught youth ages 19 to 23 about the basics of business.

Working with youth from the Zanzibar Learning for Life Foundation (ZL4LF), the international setting fostered a unique learning environment for students to teach, mentor and assist locals with their business skills.

"This international opportunity provided our students with the chance to apply their knowledge and skills acquired in the classroom towards leading their own programming," says Fiaz Merani, School of Business faculty member. "This allows them to become more culturally aware and appreciative of the diversity in international business practices."

Merani says these real-world experiences allow students to demonstrate their understanding of the subject matter on their journey to accreditation - all while helping others in turn.

From clubs to careers

The ZL4LF identified a growing interest in business operations when clubs - established for youth to learn life skills - began evolving into small businesses. SAIT students, with the support of faculty, led a seven-day course about the basics of business to those running everything from a chicken farming club to one dealing with bicycles.

"We engaged in one-on-one consulting roles, giving us the chance to provide mentorship and guidance on how to run a business operation that would be best suited for the individual," says Brennan Shannon, third-year Accounting student.

Students showed how to draft a business plan and helped develop their pupils' visions, splitting their time between teaching and meeting with individuals who were interested in or already owned a small business.

Key takeaways

The students offered their expertise and guidance from their own education by focusing on the everyday business components of working with different organizations and small businesses.

"This was our opportunity to assist a Zanzibar youth community hands on by offering them practical business advice in their current setting," says Pei-Chien Liao, second-year Accounting student. "We helped them understand how to grow their business and how to make operations smoother."

The international setting and unique cultural, social and environmental contexts the teams worked in helped develop their professional skills, including resilience, adaptability and the ability to lead.

"Even though we were teaching them, I learned a lot that I can apply to my own career," says Liao. "It was a valuable experience."

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