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Connection Established: MCCC Class Reaches Out to Macedonia


West Windsor, NJ – The trial run is over— with greetings and waves all around. MCCC’s Global Environment of Business class, taught by Professor Laura Sosa, successfully connected via two-way live streaming video with counterparts at University St. Kliment Ohridski Bitola, located in Ohrid, Macedonia, on March 11.

The MCCC class, which includes Business Administration and Business Studies students, will reconnect with the Macedonian students when Professors Sosa and Doug Fee, coordinator of the Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management program, travel to Macedonia April 4-12 to teach classes at the Macedonian university, which specializes in international tourism, hospitality and events management.

While in Macedonia, Professor Sosa will lecture about the U.S. economic system and the role of business. In addition, she will co-teach her MCCC Global Business class alongside her Macedonian counterparts via live video. The topic will be intercultural communications, a particularly apt topic for both student populations.

Professor Fee will focus on the hospitality and tourism industry's approach to performing under exteme circumstances in a lecture entitled: "A Can-do Attitude in the Eye of the Storm: Preparation, Reaction and Recovery in the face of Hurricane Sandy." Notes Fee, "I will look at restaurants and hotels that were literally under water and are currently rebuilding for the future, as well as hotels that prepared for and took in newly homeless guests. 

As part of the 20-minute introductory conversation, Professor Sosa described Mercer’s student population, noting that her classes typically include students representing multiple nationalities.  “In my class, we have students from Belarus, Montenegro, Hong Kong, Ghana, Kenya and Nepal,” she explained.

Macedonian Professor Ivanka Nestoroska provided a summary of her university’s mission, which is to focus on overcoming obstacles to tourism, such as customs procedures, insurance issues and political instability.  She and her students are concentrating on finding solutions that will make Macedonia an attractive travel and special events destination.

Mercer student William Rodas served as an MCCC class spokesperson, describing the community college system in the United States and why he chose to come to MCCC.

“I chose to attend community college because it is less expensive and close to home. Then I will transfer to a four-year school,” Rodas explained, adding that students who decide not to transfer for their four-year degree typically go to work or join the military.

Professor Laura Sosa, standing, and her class in global business await their conversation with college students in Macedonia.
Business student William Rodas, standing right, speaks to the the Macedonian students via live streaming video.
Business student Filip Sekulic (standing), of Montenegro, addresses the Macedonian group is his native language.

MCCC international student Filip Sekulic, of Montenegro, one of Macedonia’s neighbors on the Balkan Peninsula, also joined in the conversation – but in his native tongue.  A two-year starter for the MCCC basketball team, he explained that he was able to come to America through a basketball scholarship and has received additional scholarship funds to transfer to Chestnut Hill College, where he will continue his academic and athletic career.

Professor Sosa observes that this unique exchange program has already made an impression on her students.  “All of the Macedonian students have some fluency in English,” Sosa noted, as well as fluency in the languages of neighboring countries including Serbia, Croatia Albania and Montenegro. 

“My students were clearly impressed by that," she observed.  "I’m sure we will find other differences, as well as similarities, as the project progresses.”

Sosa’s students are not the only ones expected to expand their horizons.  Sosa herself, who has traveled to a number of European countries, has never been to that part of Europe before.

“It should be a fascinating experience.  I’m really looking forward to it,” Sosa said.

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