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Kalina Staub spent a semester in Aix-en-Provence as an undergrad, and has since been a huge proponent of study abroad.  Since becoming a professor in 2013, it was a dream of hers to start study abroad programs with an economics focus, which are few and far between.  In her 9 years at UNC, she has submitted many program ideas to the UNC study abroad office and has successfully designed two programs.  She is thankful to UNC’s Study abroad office and the Economics Department for allowing her to broaden students’ economics education in unique and exciting locations.

This summer, Dr. Staub will be leading a 3-week program in Stockholm focused on deepening students’ appreciation for economics, recognition of economic concepts in their everyday lives, and ability to compare and contrast economic systems. It will be her fourth summer leading this program, and it is consistently the highlight of her year. Students have the opportunity to learn outside of the classroom – about the Swedish politics and political economy, healthcare, collective bargaining in labor markets, innovation and entrepreneurship, trade and economic growth, and the welfare state – through guest lectures and visits to museums, the Riksdag (parliament), the Swedish Central Bank, a start-up hub, and a Union, all while enjoying the beautiful Swedish summer.

Michelle Sheran-Andrews will lead a study abroad program in Croatia this summer. MSA (as the students know her) is the new faculty program director for the UNC Economics in Croatia program founded by former teaching professor Rita Balaban. She and 20 of our economics majors will spend 5 weeks in the beautiful city of Split. Students will earn credit for two economics electives by taking her ECON 410 Market Failures class and a Transport Economics class taught by University of Split professor, Blanka Šimundić. The program includes excursions such as a guided tour of the Fortress of Klis, an overnight trip to the Island of Šolta, and a visit to the Pelješac Peninsula.

For the first time, Kalina will also lead a 3-week program in Split, Croatia focused on the economics of the wine industry. During the course, students will use their foundation in Microeconomics and Econometrics to explore both the supply-side and demand-side of the international wine industry. Croatia is a country with a rich wine-making history, and students’ learning is complemented with trips to a variety of vineyards and wineries on the island of Šolta and on the beautiful Pelješac peninsula.

For Rita Balaban, the city of Split, in Croatia, served as the perfect “campus” to offer a global, higher education experience for students and to share experiences with them in the homeland of her ancestors. In recent years, people from around the world have been attracted to Split, and Croatia, because of its beautiful natural amenities, ancient Roman sites, gastronomical offerings, art festivals, and proximity to the islands and seaside that compose this area known as the Dalmatian Coast. It is a special region steeped with beautiful traditions, people, and places.

“I took my first trip to Croatia in 1986 with my family when it was part of the country formerly known as Yugoslavia. We saw so many beautiful things, but the highlight was when we visited the villages of my grandparents in the mountains west of Zagreb.  Since then, I have visited Croatia more than a dozen times and it was during an extended visit in 2016 that I reached out to the Faculty (a.k.a. College) of Economics, Business and Tourism at the University of Split to see if they would be interested in serving as the host institution for a study abroad program for our economics students. They were very enthusiastic about this opportunity and over the next 1.5 years we collaborated and designed the UNC Economics in Croatia program.

I took my first group of UNC economics majors to Split in 2018 and since then I have taken three more groups (2019, 2022, and 2023). During this six-week program, the students are enrolled in two courses and participate in weekly cultural and course-related excursions. It has been so rewarding to share my love of everything Croatian with these students in the beautiful homeland of my ancestors and to watch them fall in love with this wonderful country.

I recently retired from academia to start a company whose mission is to create programs for American students to study abroad in Croatia. The name of the company is UCIM-Abroad.  In the Croatian language “učim” can be translated as “I am learning” or “I am studying.” However, for me UCIM serves as an acronym that summarizes my company’s values: Undertaking and Championing global education to Inspire Minds.

This summer I have two groups of UNC students who will be studying in Croatia under the faculty guidance of Michelle Sheran-Andrews and Kalina Staub.”