ISP Heroes to Patient Zeroes

Written by Aaron Choi

The International Studies Program, a mandatory 4-credit course in NYU Stern’s Global Business Core, provides the opportunity for Juniors to travel to three global ISP locations and hone in on the study of international businesses. Supported by the Barr Family since 2001, ISP is a unique opportunity for undergraduate students to explore other parts of the world on a one-week trip. Sponsored activities like local market immersions, company visits, and city-wide tours help students learn and experience cultural nuances that no textbook can teach. It is often a highlight of students’ Stern experiences; for those that haven’t studied abroad by their Junior spring, students can experience other cultures with friends and colleagues.

This year, students had the option to travel to Hong Kong, Lima, and Copenhagen. Typically, Hong Kong is the most sought after ISP location, and this year was no different. Nevertheless, 92.5% of students were assigned their first choice, 7% assigned their second choice, and 0.5% assigned their third choice. Objectively, Stern does a great job in connecting students with their preferred ISP location.

A trip of this size takes many months to plan. Stern faculty have mentioned that planning for the ISP trip takes place as soon as the previous year’s trip has finished. Credit must be given to the Stern faculty and the International Exchanges and Special Programs team that tirelessly plan and execute trip logistics for over 600 students, planning flight and travel logistics, visa and passport issues, and health insurance.

Despite the success of the Hong Kong ISP trip, several students were reported to be ill, with the flu or otherwise, towards the end of the trip. Many students also fell ill after the Hong Kong ISP trip, again with the flu, cold, or other illnesses. Between layovers and long flights, students can be more susceptible to illness when running on few hours of sleep. Another burden on students was the arrival to New York on Friday night or Saturday morning, with class resuming the following Monday, March 25th. The ability to adjust to jet lag is stretched thin when given only 48 hours or so before classes resume. The health insurance policy helped to cover medical visits as students sought medical treatment in Hong Kong. Graduate fellows and Stern faculty and administrators helped to connect students with doctors when needed, even when flights were only a few hours away.

The ISP trip continues to be a highlight of the Junior spring semester. With recruiting off their minds, students can truly enjoy unwinding in the glamour that cities like Hong Kong, Lima, and Copenhagen have to offer. Whether NYU Stern and the International Studies Program travel to another city for the Asia ISP trip is unknown, but the success of the ISP program should not be tarnished by the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the Hong Kong ISP trip.

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