For two weeks this summer, College of Business incoming junior Jake Atteberry took a break from his marketing internship at CSU and took on the responsibility of helping keep an eye on 39 energetic high school students hailing from Colorado – and 14 other countries around the world – as a lead counselor for the inaugural Global Business Academy. Hosted by the College of Business, the Academy helps students understand business to create a better world while making life-long, cross-cultural friendships.
From white water rafting to touring high-tech research facilities and facilitating engaging classroom activities, Atteberry supported the young scholars as they explored CSU and learned more about international enterprise.
“It was cool because the counselors got to take a lot of ownership over what happened during the camp,” said Atteberry, who helped plan out activities that the groups could take part in between business tours and coursework.
Starting from day one, when he went to the airport to pick up students from Brazil, Chile, China, and Chicago, the Global Business Academy was full of the unexpected.
“It surprised me how instantly they wanted to learn about each other’s cultures. I figured that would be a little bit forced and it definitely wasn’t at all,” Atteberry said.
The students instantly began to talk about their favorite foods, cultural traditions, and exchanged Spotify playlists to compare their music tastes.
The first day of the camp brought Atteberry to CSU’s Mountain Campus for the first time, where the high school students were tasked with tackling the challenge course, climbing to dizzying heights and swinging off of wooden platforms stories up in the air.
Atteberry shouted words of encouragement to members of his team as they scaled tall timbers, leaped to grab trapeze bars, and wobbled their way across high wires. But, it wasn’t until he strapped a harness on himself, climbed to the top of the course, and prepared to leap off and swing to the ground, that he realized, “Ah!”
It was harder than he thought.
“It was cool to be able to try and serve as a leader to these students in something I was also new to, and that helped me grow too,” Atteberry said.
The cultural differences students brought together was also an eye opening experience.
“Their different perspectives played out in how they interacted in groups, how valid they felt their opinions were,” said Atteberry. “But, I think at the end of the camp the students were able to understand: although my culture may tell me I hold this certain position, my value can be recognized in many different ways.”
On the last day of the camp, it was clear the students had built lasting relationships with one another. The graduation ceremony turned into a tearful group hug before all the names could be read. Then came the high-fives, bellowing laughter, and finally goodbyes.
“The counselors just looked at each other and had this, ‘Awww,’ moment. … All of us were really proud of what we helped accomplish.”
Although the students were going home to different cities and countries, they all left with new friendships, global connections and a broader understanding of the world around them.
Global Business Academy students say goodbye during their graduation ceremony at CSU’s College of Business.