As part of the Bach­elor of Sci­ence in Inter­na­tional Busi­ness pro­gram, Phillip Turner spent a year in Madrid studying at a pri­vate uni­ver­sity and working on co-​​op with a dig­ital mar­keting con­sul­tancy. He learned to speak fluent Spanish and made a score of life­long friends from Europe.

I enjoyed the adven­ture,” said Turner, a fifth-​​year senior who returned to North­eastern from co-​​op in August. “Every­thing was a little bit chal­lenging,” he added, noting the dif­fi­culty of adapting to the Spanish-​​speaking work environment.

Turner was among eight stu­dents in the BSIB pro­gram who gath­ered in a con­fer­ence room in the Egan Research Center on Thursday after­noon. The young global cit­i­zens dis­cussed their inter­na­tional expe­ri­ences over light fare and then met with North­eastern Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun and Roman Blanco, the U.S. CEO of the San­tander Group, a Madrid-​​based finan­cial ser­vices company.

In the spring of 2010, North­eastern signed a gift agree­ment with San­tander that allowed the uni­ver­sity to expand the BSIB pro­gram to Brazil. On Thursday, stu­dents, fac­ulty, and staff gath­ered to cel­e­brate the signing of a three-​​year exten­sion of San­tander Uni­ver­si­ties’ sup­port for the program.

The Northeastern-​​Santander part­ner­ship will give BSIB stu­dents the chance to explore their futures in for­eign coun­tries. “You never know what you will be doing in life, because what you study might not be what you prac­tice,” Aoun told them. “You don’t know today where you will end up.”

Blanco, for his part, described the part­ner­ship as a per­fect fit, saying that both insti­tu­tions com­prise “global cit­i­zens who strive for innovation.”

This is a tremen­dous part­ner­ship because we’re both in the busi­ness of devel­oping global lead­er­ship,” added Hugh Courtney, dean of the D’Amore-McKim School of Busi­ness.

Estab­lished in 1994, the BSIB pro­gram offers stu­dents an oppor­tu­nity to both study and work over­seas in the lan­guage of their host country, building upon the university’s global lead­er­ship in expe­ri­en­tial edu­ca­tion. By training stu­dents to become future global man­agers, the pro­gram develops highly qual­i­fied pro­fes­sionals who bring a more com­pet­i­tive edge in world mar­kets to U.S. corporations.

The program—currently oper­ating in 10 coun­tries and ranked No. 8 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report—aims to broaden stu­dents’ cross-​​cultural aware­ness, increase their knowl­edge of a for­eign lan­guage, and bol­ster their under­standing of inter­na­tional busi­ness practices.

Nicholas Athanassiou, the academic director of the BSIB program since 2003, chats with Blanca Sainz, a third-year international student from Madrid.

Nicholas Athanas­siou, the aca­d­emic director of the BSIB pro­gram since 2003, chats with Blanca Sainz, a third-​​year inter­na­tional stu­dent from Madrid. Photo by Mariah Tauger.

Nicholas Athanas­siou, the aca­d­emic director of the pro­gram since 2003, urged prospec­tive stu­dents to con­sider the program’s career-​​long ben­e­fits. “We live in a glob­al­ized world and the best way to learn about where you live is to spend time away from where you’re from,” he said fol­lowing the formal por­tion of the hour­long event. Even if BSIB stu­dents choose to work in America, he said, “Spending time in inter­na­tional busi­ness over­seas will make you more effec­tive in your U.S. career.”

Blanca Sainz is a third-​​year inter­na­tional stu­dent from Madrid. She com­pleted her first two years of col­lege at the Catholic Insti­tute of Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion, Northeastern’s partner school in the BSIB-​​Spain pro­gram, and is a can­di­date for a degree in inter­na­tional busi­ness from both institutions.

Sainz chose the BSIB pro­gram for a chance to step out of her com­fort zone, saying that the oppor­tu­nity to study in two coun­ties has been a “life-​​changing expe­ri­ence that has allowed me to adapt to many new sit­u­a­tions and customs.”