International Trade Show showcases experiential learning, goodwill

CEOs often strive to make their businesses bigger and better.

Clint Relyea, a lecturer at the Maine Business School, takes a similar approach with the Third Annual International Trade Show — a culmination of his Introduction to International Business course at the University of Maine.

Relyea says students are eager to showcase the exports, history and culture of 34 countries Monday, April 24, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The free public show will be held in the main room of the convention center at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

This year, for the first time, the event will be held as part of the UMaine Student Symposium, where more than 1,200 graduate and undergraduate students will engage with the public while presenting their research, scholarship and creative activities.

Since mid-January, the 140 students enrolled in Relyea’s two international business classes have been economic development officers for their respective countries.

This spring’s featured countries include Bangladesh, Bolivia and Bulgaria, as well as Portugal, Poland and Peru, and Thailand, Turkey and Tanzania.

Another first — this spring, Liechtenstein, a 62-square-mile principality between Austria and Switzerland, is included in the mix.

Student groups — which have met weekly and kept journals — have contacted consulates and embassies. They’ve researched trade and investments and analyzed challenges and opportunities related to conducting business affairs in worldwide markets.

Relyea says each student is well versed on his or her respective country’s gross domestic product, gross national income and exchange rate, as well as its education and health care systems.

Class members also have embraced learning about their assigned country’s culture and Relyea anticipates a lively atmosphere at the show, including music, dancing, food and videos.

Relyea says the project promotes goodwill, in addition to an understanding of international business.

“I’m passionate about global citizenship,” says Relyea. “When we know each other better, I think we’re less likely to have conflict.”

The exhibitions will be evaluated on content — including knowledge, relevance and quality of information — as well as overall appearance, creativity and effort. Judges will be drawn from the UMaine and Orono communities.

The judges’ findings will be announced at 4 p.m. the day of the show; the winning team will receive a gift certificate to Woodman’s Bar & Grill in Orono.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777