Linking Lives Programme with Virginia Tech

In view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Linking Lives Programme had to be suspended for the Fall semester 2020. We thank you for your understanding.


“Borders of different kinds get in the way of management education.”
(Henry Mintzberg*)

Content: USI students have the possibility to join the Linking Lives program of Virginia Tech, a top tier research university following the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The program aims to create sustainable social change by providing students with an intercultural experience in a U.S. university context and a four-week field project in Eastern Africa (Ethiopia, Rwanda) where they collaborate with local NGOs along with their practical needs.
This practical experience will be prepared through a set of interactive classes and problem-based learning programs in Lugano (during 9 weeks) together with Virginia Tech students on topics such as Marketing, Society and the Public Interest, International Development, and Strategic Communication for Non-Profit Organizations. All courses are taught in English and recognized by USI’s bachelor program in communication.

Ambition: Today’s societal, environmental and business challenges require an education that allows us to overcome a variety of borders. Management practice cannot be taught in the traditional classroom only. Rather, management education needs to provide possibilities for reflection on direct experience in organizations and business. It further needs to go beyond the notion of “globalization” and provide authentic experiences in different cultural locales, more deeply rooted and dialogic than a short educational trip. Finally, and may most daringly, for a management program to be relevant today, it has to go “beyond our mental borders” (Mintzberg & Gosling, 2002), our hitherto assumptions and frameworks, such as beyond uni-dimensional notions of value and the discipline of management itself.

This structured exchange during the 5th semester of the Bachelor in Communication will allow students not only to deepen a communication-centred understanding of management, but to acquire intercultural experiences, engage hands-on in practice projects, and sharpen their understanding of business’ societal and ecological implications and ambitions (i.e. sustainability).

Eligibility: students having completed the 4th semester of their bachelor studies in Communication and following the specialization in Specialisation in Business, Markets and Society.

Fees: Program cost is 2'500 CHF, which include round trip airfare from Milan/Zurich to Rwanda or Ethiopia, 4 weeks in the host country, all meals, local transport, social activities.

More Information: visit for more information or contact the academic coordinator of the specialization in Business, Markets and Society, Prof. Jeanne Mengis ([email protected]).


*Mintzberg, H., & Gosling, J. (2002). Educating managers beyond borders. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 1(1), 64-76