Gazebo Gazette

A group of 18 University of Southern Mississippi (USM) business students traveled to London this summer to further their International Business studies. Among them was Ka’Lon Duncanson, a Marketing BSBA student on the Gulf Park campus in Long Beach, Miss. from Freeport, Bahamas.

Duncanson came to Southern Miss in the spring of 2019 and decided to pursue a Marketing BSBA on the Gulf Park campus. Determined to make the most of his time at Southern Miss, he became a familiar face around campus as a member of the Southern Connections Leadership Team, students who serve as ambassadors for Southern Miss, and the Student Government Association.

He was also honored as Student Employee of the Year in 2022 for his work with the Office of Student Affairs. Additionally, his research paper earned the People’s Choice Award at the 2022 School of Marketing’s Student Research Showcase.

“The School of Leadership faculty on the Gulf Park campus encourages our students to take advantage of the opportunities to study abroad, as experiencing other cultures awakens curiosity about potential career paths,” said Dr. Heather Annulis, Director of the School of Leadership at Southern Miss and Pass Christian resident. “Ka’Lon exemplifies that the possibilities for learning are endless, here and abroad. Students attending classes at our USM Gulf Park campus have the opportunity to expand their learning experiences through programs such as the Study Abroad program. Ka’Lon’s tenacity and belief that anything is possible made the trip a reality.”

As a student from another country, Ka’Lon was in a unique position to understand the value of studying abroad. “I wanted to learn more about international business, possible career opportunities abroad, and experience a different culture,” he stated.

Russell Willis, Assistant Teaching Professor, escorted this year’s Study Abroad group to London. He explained, “The College of Business and Economic Development has a long history, over forty years, of taking students to study in London every summer. It is an immersive, four-week program based in the heart of London at the University of Westminster. Students learn about British business, the difference and similarities to American business, the British economy, and Britain’s role in international trade and commerce.”

Ka’Lon said, “We were in a new environment, away from friends and family, and there was culture shock. By the second day, we [the students] were becoming familiar with each other and forming relationships based on majors, interests and personalities. Group assignments were highly cooperative, demonstrating our teamwork skills and identifying our strengths and weaknesses. We did many group outings, visiting restaurants, museums, West End shows, and trips to other cities and countries.

“We looked out for each other and remained safe,” he concluded.

Willis confirmed the value of the program. “Studying abroad is one of the most transformational activities a student can participate in while at Southern Miss,” he stated. “Studying abroad exposes students to a new culture, a different way of thinking, and is a lot of fun. Not only do students learn about the country in which they are studying, they come to appreciate their own country even more.”

Some of the highlights of this year’s program include visits to Wimbledon, the famed sports venue; Lloyd’s of London, the oldest and most well-known insurance broker in the world; and a visit to the Wedgwood factory, which has made fine china and porcelain since 1759. “We also toured the British Parliament and held a personal audience with a Member of Parliament, Sir Charles Walker,” said Willis. “Finally, we enjoyed a lecture at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), a world-renowned business school.”

“Ka’Lon’s journey, first to Mississippi and then to the UK, showcases if you dream it, you can do it,” said Dr. Annulis. “He took the challenge to step out and study abroad in the United Kingdom.”

Ka’Lon’s favorite part of the Study Abroad experience was the round-table discussion with the Parliamentarian and the tour of England’s “Silicon Valley,” the eastern end of the English M4 corridor that is home to a large number of technology companies. “Here,” he confessed, “new ideas formed – and my perspective of the world shifted.”

For additional information about the British Studies Program or any of the other Study Abroad programs offered, visit the Study Abroad section of the Southern Miss website at But, said Ka’Lon, “Prepare your mind and heart to experience something that will change your life forever. While you are there, embrace the culture, make new friends, and don’t be afraid to try new things.”

The School of Leadership is housed within the College of Business and Economic Development at USM. To learn more about the marketing program offered by the School of Leadership as well as its other degree programs, visit

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) is a comprehensive public research institution delivering transformative programs on campuses in Hattiesburg and Long Beach, at teaching and research sites across the Mississippi Gulf Coast, as well as online.