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Spring 2007 -- Home Champlain View Archives Subscribe to Print Edition

Student's Global Business Initiative Yields a Return

By Natalie Drumov '07

Champlain College student Emily Howland '09Most college students would consider themselves lucky to study abroad in China. For International Business major Emily Howland ’09, the journey is becoming almost routine. But it was luck mixed with uncommon initiative that found her packing her bags for her fourth tour of China. This time, Howland’s trip was all business as she went to work at the Shanghai Small Enterprise Trade Development Service Center.

Designed as part of Howland’s internship requirement, her posting will entail helping the Center coordinate and establish cooperative relationships with American small business institutions, trade promotion agencies, and chambers of commerce. Howland is the only Champlain College student involved in this venture. Although her fluency in Mandarin and previous experiences in China will likely distinguish her from other college students studying in China, her Champlain College advisor, International Business Program Director Tom Myers, notes that this is hardly the first time he’s seen the 23-year-old Richmond, Vermont, native take the reins of her education firmly in hand. “Emily is a very mature student and has a clear direction for her future career in international business,” he says. “She has taken advantage of every international work opportunity through Champlain’s partnership with the Vermont Global Trade Partnership and the Vermont Chamber of Commerce’s Shanghai office.”

Howland embarked on her first trip to China when she was a 17-year-old high school grad. Studying Mandarin and teaching English as a Second Language kept her abroad for four years. She returned to China in November 2006 as part of a joint trade mission with the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and the Vermont Global Trade Partnership. During that trip, she participated in the China International Travel Mart in Shanghai at a Vermont represented booth. Her responsibilities included meeting tour operators and testing markets to set up contacts to attract Chinese tourists to Vermont.

The trip was a success for all involved. “As a result of that,” she says, “we had a representative [who specializes in tourism] from the U.S. Commercial Service in Shanghai come here. I brought her around to visit Vermont’s tourist locations, including Stowe and the Trapp Family Lodge.” This June, a group of 15 to 20 Chinese tour operators and Chinese travel media professionals will come to Vermont for firsthand experience.

As Howland progresses through her Champlain College studies, her business aspirations have come to play an increasingly prominent role in her contact with China. By the spring semester of 2007, she had found a way to integrate the program requirements of her major with her personal goals. “Right now one of my interests is environmental technology, such as working in alternative energy or water management,” she says. “[Countries] are trying to take the initiative to solve that, so hopefully I can put my interests together in the future and find a job where I can also travel.”

Howland’s ambitious achievements add color to an already brilliant resume. She also credits the College with supporting her endeavors through a global outlook that was an important consideration when deciding where to earn her undergraduate degree. “I came to Champlain because I knew that it was going to be hard to move back to the U.S. after living abroad for so long,” she says. “I really wanted a place that was flexible and could accommodate me if I wanted to do something different.” According to Myers, in the process of pursuing her goals, Howland has created a model for the kinds of synergies his program is designed to facilitate. “Emily is a great example of an International Business student’s success in real-life experiences,” he says.

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