A&M International Students Pack for Europe Travel, Study

Roberto Balli, a Laredo attorney, has a special trip planned for this summer.

This trip to Europe, however, will be quite different from his daily depositions and interviews with clients.

That's because Balli, who also teaches an evening business class for business majors and non-majors at Texas A&M International University, will be accompanying a group of 10 students to The Netherlands and Germany as part of their class work this week.

The class, "Special Issues: Doing Business in Europe," is one of two University classes that will be traveling to Europe this summer.

The other class, "The Emergence of Modern France," offered by history professor Stanley Green, visits France also this month.

Students in Balli's class, who have been studying the European Union and their monetary system for a semester, will attend lectures held at partner universities in The Netherlands and Germany. Students will also have an opportunity to visit businesses and organizations discussed in class, such as the Flower Auction in The Netherlands, The European Parliament in Belgium and the Eco Steel Factory in Germany.

Green's class, of nine students, on the other hand, will take tours of historic sites discussed in class. His class has an undergraduate and graduate section. While completing the travel component, students will be required to keep a daily journal. Upon return, they will be required to complete a 10-page term paper. Some of the cities students will visit Paris, Versailles, Provence and The French Riviera.

Balli, who also traveled to Europe as a university student, said he looks forward to serving as the travel leader.

"I think that having had an experience traveling is beneficial to me as an instructor because I know first hand the different questions that students may have or emotions that they may feel as they prepare for this trip," he said. "I'm not nervous. I've been in that situation as a student and I know that the maturity level of the students is high. We're traveling with a group of very bright and responsible students," he said.

Himself graduate of A&M International (Class of 1997), Balli said he is excited about joining his charges in classrooms during the trip.

"There are some very nice lectures for students," he said, "I'm not going to be teaching during the trip, so, when we are at the two host universities, I will be able to sit back and enjoy the lectures, too," Balli said.

Informing students about the European currency, clothes to pack, and documents to include has also been part of Balli's recent responsibilities.

"One of the challenges has been to get them prepared for cultural aspects that will be foreign to them," he said, "For example, they have to understand that the food, time management and laws will be different. I prepare them by telling them to keep an open mind. The students are really excited and ready."

For further information, please contact Jannet Garcia, Office for International Programs director, at 326-2566. University office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu