Artevelde's international days

By Prof. Eric Novak


Recently, I had a unique opportunity to travel to the city of Ghent, Belgium and participate as a visiting Seneca Professor during an International Learning event hosted by Artevelde University College.

Each year, Artevelde students enrolled in their Bachelor of International Business Program participate in the school’s International Days event. On May 2nd and 3rd, these English language students had the opportunity to sign up and participate in specialized lectures delivered by 16 different Professors from 14 different colleges and universities in 11 different countries. The goal of Artevelde is to expose their students to a diversity of international viewpoints on a wide range of subject matter related to their studies. Additionally, the event helps to build and foster partnerships between Artevelde and the institutions where the visiting Professors hailed from.

For me personally, it was an opportunity to visit Europe for the very first time. I have seen eight Provinces and 22 U.S. States in my lifetime but travelling across the Atlantic was something I have never done, and it was an opportunity I was extremely grateful to have been given.

Ghent is a city of about 250 thousand people, but in addition there are as many as 70 thousand students who attend both Artevelde and Ghent University. I found this combination provided the city with a vibrant and enticing mix of medieval history and modern, progressive vibrancy, so much so that in my free time, I decided to shoot a video travel review of the city for my personal YouTube channel.

My lecture, which I gave on two occasions was entitled “The Need to Normalize Sustainability in Business and Society” and it drew upon both my professional experience as an environmental journalist, consultant and speaker as well as my role as a Professor here at Seneca in the Sustainable Business Management post-graduate certificate program. In total I spoke to just over 200 students and received a significant amount of positive feedback from them both immediately afterward and ongoing through their connecting with me on LinkedIn as well as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

While the opportunity to visit a part of the world I had never been to before was certainly a big draw for me, I felt that the most gratifying aspect of the trip came from the opportunity to connect and collaborate with other faculty from around the world and to represent both Seneca and my faculty with pride. This to me was just as much a professional development opportunity as it was a personal one and I am grateful to Seneca International for continuing to seek out opportunities and partnerships like this for faculty to participate in. I would personally strongly encourage other faculty members to keep your eyes open for similar opportunities to participate in as Seneca International continues to grow our brand. It will be well worth the time and effort invested to participate.