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What can your story be in the United States?

04/10/2014

COLLEGE TOWN SPIRIT

Having been based at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor that is ranked among the top college towns in the US, I felt keen on exploring more by going to universities beyond the borders of Michigan. I set my plan for two study trips combined with special events to be attended and choosing one private and one public university. In the Fall Semester I visited Yale University in New Haven, CT and in the Spring Semester I visited the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY.

  Yale University_all downtown buildings

Yale University buildings in downtown New Haven, CT

In July I participated in hosting a group of Yale alumni visit in Riga. Further, I was invited to attend the annual Yale Alumni Leadership Forum in 20-23 November 2013, when winds blew cold as a premonition of winter, but I experienced warm welcome in New Haven, known as Elm City. Walking among the campus buildings, I could see the architecture that makes up the residential colleges of Yale with their sheltering quadrangles as a key ingredient in shaping a university experience that creates the lifelong loyalty of alumni. Indeed, Yale has a unique approach in cultivating the alumni connection through a variety of programs, including Bulldogs Across America (BAA), Shared interest groups (SIGs), Students and Alumni of Yale (STAY), Yale Alumni Service Corps, Yale Day of Service, Yale Educational Travel, Yale Global Alumni Leadership Exchange (YaleGALE). Having learned about all the programs offered by the Association of Yale Alumni (AYA), I feel I have equipped myself with new ideas that I am happy to share with colleagues back at home as well implement a few new projects working with the SSE Riga Alumni Association, especially turning fundraising more towards friends-raising that is a Yale approach.

Yale_Old Campus

Yale University Old campus

  YaleGale seminar_gate to old campus

Entering the Old campus

Based on previous connections through a Fulbright professor Glenn Blomquist teaching at SSE Riga, I was invited to attend the 19th Annual Economics Teaching Workshop at the University of Kentucky on 28-29 March 2014. It was interesting to learn about the importance of experiments, games, graphics, photography, and interactive definitions and role plays in teaching microeconomics and macroeconomics. With 80 participants from approximately 20 universities, the discussions during the reception, breakfast and lunch gave opportunities to exchange ideas about teaching the new digital generation as well as broaden the network. I hope we can organize a similar seminar at SSE Riga, because economists typically organize research seminars on specific topics, but not on teaching economics. I took an opportunity to meet the faculty members who teach entrepreneurship, visit the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship as well as have meetings with the Innovation Network for Entrepreneurial Thinking (iNET) team. Finally, I had to decide on taking ‘the right’ side when the University of Kentucky Wildcats with 75-72 won over the University of Michigan Wolverines in basketball. 

Gattonbe_5

Gatton College of Business and Economics, University of Kentucky

 

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