The Life-changing Experience of Global Immersion

Over the course of 10 years, Sean Jasso, Ph.D., has led UCR students on 25 global immersion trips: 11 trips to Oxford, England. Twice to India, once to Turkey. Seven trips to China and four to Vietnam.

All of them have one thing in common.

“A global mindset changes you,” said Jasso, professor of practice for the School of Business.

“Whether it’s in England or Saigon, it changes you,” he said. “It teaches perspective. It also inspires you to think competitively and differently about your position in the marketplace – which is pretty much a global marketplace.”

COVID-19 disrupted global immersion plans over the last 18 months, but trips are scheduled for Washington, D.C. in December 2021 and Oxford in March 2022, with trips to Vietnam, Brazil, China, Silicon Valley and New York City in early planning stages.

While the uncertainty and disruption have been frustrating, Jasso remains confident the programs will resume and continue to provide extraordinary opportunities for students.

Offered exclusively through UCR’s School of Business, the Global Immersion Programs offer opportunities for students of all majors, undergraduate and graduate, to gain international experience through a first-hand look at the most important, dynamic and emerging markets in the world.

In recent years, the trips have focused on entrepreneurial leadership, with emerging-market destinations chosen for their roles in areas such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and the changing world of work.

Although Oxford is not an emerging market, it offers the opportunity for students to be in residence in the world’s oldest English-speaking university – and to visit the startup environment of East London.

One student described his exposure to world-class lectures and site visits by saying, “The Oxford Program opened doors for me.” Jasso agrees, saying every international experience will enhance a student’s profile for employment.

“If someone sees Oxford on your resume, or another international university, that's going to get you out of the pile of resumes,” he said. “For an employer, I think it shows that you take risks and that you put yourself out there.”

True to the description of global immersion, each trip includes multiple opportunities to experience the local culture, whether through food, service projects or daily life.

“You’re going to eat food out of your comfort zone, adapt and compete, and gain that perspective beyond the media, beyond stereotype,” Jasso said. “It’s not about luxury, it’s about learning.”