Global Leadership 2023

featuring YDUQS

Between June and July 2023, we hosted an online course focused on global leadership for students from a system of Brazilian universities called YDUQS, including universities such as Universidade Estácio de Sá and Centro Universitário de Ribeirão Preto.

The program, which was conducted entirely in Spanish, also brought in students from a series of universities around Latin America, such as the Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia and Universidad Siglo 21 (Argentina). 

Across the course of the five weeks of the course, students came together once a week for an online session during which they listened to lectures and participated in activities led by local experts in subjects related to global leadership. In addition to this academic content, students were divided into small groups–each of which with a diverse mixture of nationalities represented–and tasked with developing a project together, which they had to present at the end of the program. In this sense, the course was a theoretical and practical exercise in developing the competencies needed to succeed as a leader in an increasingly globalized world. 

Type of Program:

Online Course


June 16th - July 15th, 2023

"It was very rewarding to be able to exchange information, experiences, expectations, and knowledge with my teammates from Brazil and other nearby countries. Although I am not fluent in Spanish, I made my best effort to express myself clearly so that my teammates could understand me. It was a short experience, but one that was valuable."

Solange Klotz

Business student at Universidade Estácio de Sá


This program is the fruit of a long-standing relationship with the Brazilian education holding company YDUQS. Since 2018, we have worked with a number of universities within the YDUQS system, such as Ibmec and Wyden.

Over the course of this five-year relationship, we have worked on both inbound and outbound programs, having sent students from the YDUQS system abroad and welcomed foreign students into programs involving universities within the YDUQS system.

The Global Leadership Course was developed in 2023 under the leadership of Larissa Pochmann, YDUQS’s National Coordination for Research, Extension, and Internationalization.  The idea emerged as an opportunity to provide an accessible, wide-reaching, and practical international experience to students across the YDUQS university network by means of a short-term virtual course.

The Journey:

Towards the end of the first semester of 2023, we worked in collaboration with our partners from YDUQS and partner universities across the region to recruit program participants. In total, we received applications from nearly 1,800 students from across Latin America, of which we accepted a group of over 300 Brazilian students and 150 international students from Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, and Peru.


In their project teams, students were given a challenge to collaboratively work on during and outside of class meeting times to present at the end of the experience. Each team had to present a hypothetical business model for a good or service that already exists in their home countries that they would like to expand into another country.

These participants were then divided into six different classes each week. Within each class, students were further divided into their project teams, with an average of 10 teams per class and a mix of nationalities represented in each team.
Each online session was structured as such:


Introduction to Global Leadership

The team of course coordinators dedicated this session to equipping the students with the core information and tools they would need to follow the remainder of the course and to begin their projects. This session provided students with an overview of the key competencies that are key to global leadership, while also giving them time to discuss and reflect on these competencies with their classmates–which proved to be their first exercise in working in intercultural contexts, given the diverse composition of the group.


Intercultural Communication

This week was dedicated to the concept of effective intercultural communication. In addition to presenting key forms of communication, experts presented a series of tips for students to express themselves more clearly in international settings. Students then reflected on this content through an interactive activity centered around ‘portuñol’–a way to describe the manner in which speakers of Portuguese and Spanish mesh the two languages together. By using Portuñol as a case study, students were able to see the meaning of a single statement, phrase, or word can vary based on the location, context, or background of those involved.



In the third week, the coordination team focused on the idea of adaptability in the modern world. Beginning with a presentation of a theoretical basis, students had the chance to learn more about the different ways that adaptability can be defined, its importance in a constantly changing world, and the different fields across which it can be measured, such as resilience, stress tolerance, and flexibility. Towards the end, students focused specifically on what it means to be a flexible leader, particularly in the job market and in international contexts.


Intercultural Teamwork and Conflict Management

In the last lecture of the course, students heard from an expert in international business on the subject of conflict management and teamwork. The expert set a theoretical basis with an introduction to the causes of interpersonal conflict and the role that perception holds in these dynamics. Students then had the chance to learn more about nonviolent communication as a framework through which conflicts can be understood and resolved.


Project Presentations

Over the course of the five weeks, students worked on their pitches during and outside of their synchronous meeting sessions. Before this final session of the course, each team had to submit a two-minute recorded business pitch for evaluation, of which the best three pitches from each class were selected to be presented and judged in the final session, where one winner from each class was named. Winning presentations included businesses that would develop 3D-printed medical slings, offer currency exchange services via a mobile phone application, and help immigrants and refugees gain employment in Brazil.

The Impact:

Through this course, students were able to put the content they learned into practice in real time. By centering the academic content of the program around four key competencies necessary for success in global leadership–and four key competencies that students would need to work in teams to develop their projects–the course created a dialogue between its academic and practical components.

While students applied the knowledge they gathered in the sessions to their work in their project teams, they also pulled from the challenges and growth they experienced working on their project to ask questions and offer insights during the lectures.

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of the course–that inevitably ended up being one of the most rewarding–was the teamwork.

The fact that students had to work on their projects virtually challenged them to assume an additional level of responsibility; each group had to find effective tools and strategies to organize the progression of the project and the division of work amongst team members at a distance. In addition, each team was composed of members from different countries across Latin America, which meant that students had to work to communicate with each other effectively from a cultural and linguistic perspective.

Above all, however, this course represents the potential to expand international exchange through virtual exchange initiatives. Although none of the participants physically crossed any borders, the structure of the course allowed for them to develop relationships with people from other countries and learn more about their realities.

Across all classes and groups, students commented on the fact that, despite the course being just five weeks long, the course was able to optimize the amount of learning and exchange that they were able to achieve in their day-to-day interactions in their teams. For many, this was the first international experience that they had the opportunity to partake in. And for this reason, we believe that these types of internationalization at home¹ initiatives represent a key opportunity to continue expanding access to international education to more students around the world.

"The global leadership course was an enriching and transformative experience. Interacting with people from different parts of Latin America provided me with a different perspective. Throughout the program, I began to better understand my teammates, especially the Brazilians, [by learning more about] the meaning of their words and the way they work in teams. Getting out of my comfort zone was challenging, but it gave me the valuable opportunity to grow personally and professionally, facing situations that drove my holistic growth. "

Liliana Parra

Electrical engineering student at Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia

Did you enjoy reading about this incredible international education journey? 

Our passion in the academic field has given us the privilege of actively collaborating with more than 80 universities, offering professional and extracurricular experience journeys directly impacting more than 4000 students.

Written by:

Jaret Waters

Campus b Team

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"It was very rewarding to be able to exchange information, experiences, expectations, and knowledge with my teammates from Brazil and other nearby countries. Although I am not fluent in Spanish, I made my best effort to express myself clearly so that my teammates could understand me. It was a short experience, but one that was valuable."

Solange Klotz

Business student at Universidade Estácio de Sá