At the Universidad del Norte Business School, we believe that it is extremely important for our students to be exposed to the global context in which business operations take place in today's world. For this reason, we make every effort to equip them with relevant knowledge that will allow them to interact in the international arena. It is also why we include courses in English or courses which use English materials in the curriculum.
Within the International Business curriculum, International Integration is one of the courses that are fully delivered in English. Due to its nature, and because it is taught in English, we can take advantage of the teaching materials developed by the UNCTAD Virtual Institute (Vi). These materials provide our students with updated resources and discussion papers on International Integration theory and its application.
The objective of this course is to position our students in the global context. The way countries interact in regional and multilateral settings can create a favorable environment for the development of international business. The course starts with a historical review of trade and integration where we aim to help students understand the foundations of the present interaction between countries within integration agreements. The Regional Trade Agreements teaching material published by the Vi gives us the opportunity to reach this goal, as it fully covers the subject. It discusses the historical and theoretical aspects of international integration, offers a practical way to approaching the current negotiations, and gives an overview of Regional Integration Agreements.
By studying how trade agreements have taken hold in the world, the students can see that there are different ways to reach agreements and see their evolution over time. The model of Asian agreements is different from the European approach, for example. Understanding this difference is important to our students, and this is possible thanks to the access to various publications and working papers provided by the Vi website. It is important to mention that these articles are written by researchers from different parts of the world, which gives students a multicultural perspective that is different from that of researchers’ from developed countries.
The financial crisis and its impact on developed countries have shown that the silent growth of the emerging markets has become a chance to rescue the world economy ,as it leads to increased production and trade. Our students can access different documents that explain this situation in depth. For example, Pierguiseppe Fortunato’s multimedia material, “The Rise of the South: New Paths to Development” is a serious piece of research which explains the issue in a simple way, so our students can understand that South – South trade and intra–industry trade as some of the most important recent trade phenomena.
To sum it up, Vi materials help us enrich the resources that we use for teaching and strengthen the international experience of our students. When they leave the classroom, they are prepared to check the official UNCTAD and WTO documentation and understand its language and context. A clear evidence of this is the active participation of our students in the activities of the annual study tour organized by the Vi in Geneva. Universidad del Norte encourages students to take advantage of this academic experience in order to strengthen their classroom knowledge. In the past three years, 17 of our students have attended and we expect this to continue in the future.