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Europe

Quando A Roma

The Colosseum

The Colosseum

My name is Adam Bendell, a Junior from Roslyn, NY.  After being given the opportunity to study Mandarin, learn about the Chinese business environment and intern in China, I knew that for my study abroad experience, I wanted something different. I wanted my abroad experience to diversify my knowledge of the global marketplace, rather than deepen my understanding of an area I was already familiar with.  As a result, I chose Europe with the intention of picking a country and city that would provide an education where I learned not only about local culture but also focused on the European perspective as well. Rome seemed like an excellent option because in my opinion there was no other European city that exhibited a deep-rooted, historic culture with a strong connection to the modern, global marketplace.

Adam Skiing in the Swiss Alps

Adam Skiing in the Swiss Alps

Every morning, I wake up in my Roman apartment, pass through the old, narrow streets of Trastevere, grab a cappuccino at my local café and head to class. I indulge in pasta and pizza so good it makes me wonder what I will do when I arrive back on campus. I walk through piazzas filled with ancient monuments and architecture, visit museums that house local and ancient artists, and spend weekends traveling to European cities, which is just as easy as catching the bus to NY for the weekend. But that’s not all…

When deciding what to write about for this blog post, several topics popped into my head. Do I discuss the mouth-watering, local, fresh food I am able to eat within steps of my apartment? Do I talk about the daily walks that I take in between classes, where I stumble upon ancient monumental sites by accident? Do I discuss my awesome European travels, from Ireland to London to the Swiss Alps?

Italian FoodAll of these were viable options, but these were all experiences I expected to have when choosing to study abroad in Rome. Don’t get me wrong, my abroad experience would not be the same without these things (see attached pictures) – but to me, they are just compliments to the real reason I am so passionate about this experience. The reason I would highly recommend this program, (a petitioned program through SAI at John Cabot University) is because of the international business education I am receiving.

Being able to learn about the international business environment in an international setting from international professors that are truly global leaders is something I could have never imagined would be so life changing.  Every day we learn about concepts and theories, and then walk outside and see the real-life applications of those ideas right before our very eyes. We learn about global issues and events and then see the effects first hand.

As a true academic, someone who is inspired by a professor and the information taught in a classroom, I have never felt more connected to a semester’s education than I do now. It’s not only the subject matter, but also the professors who teach it. For my international management and entrepreneurship course, my professor is an HBS grad and regarded as the “go to” for Italian entrepreneurs. The course is case based, so every class we are expected to have read an HBS case, present our opinions and discuss courses of action. When I say that every class brings something new, I mean it. Each case discusses a different country, a different industry and a different startup; anything from the logistics industry in Pakistan, to the IT talent pool in Israel, to the tourism sector in London. We analyze the external environment, the team, the opportunity, and the deal at hand; and after conducting some investment valuations, we make our decision of what course of action to take. What makes the course truly fantastic is that my professor brings so much experience to the table and she utilizes current topics and methods, which just makes the discourse even more engaging.

Victor Emmanuel Monument

Victor Emmanuel Monument

In my International marketing course, we spend the first 30 minutes of each class discussing that day’s global events and their implications on the global economy. And while a lot of our conversations involve the international market overall, my professor never skips at the chance to tie the effects on the Italian economy. Another one of my business courses is titled “New Product Management” where we spend the semester on a team designing, building, and marketing a new product for the international marketplace. In some cases, students have actually moved to the patenting stage and have even sold their ideas to large manufacturing firms.

Being in Rome is like being in another world. The Italian citizenry are so in touch with their histories, their culture, and their relationships with one another that I sometimes feel like I am living amongst those who are invulnerable to the effects of today’s globalized society. But then, I take a step back and realize it is more than that. It’s a combination of both the old and the new. While public transportation is inefficient and “being on time” can range from 5 to 15 minutes late, there is something extremely unique about the way Italians do business. It may be the heavy reliance on familial structures or the strong friendships that are required for business relationships; I am not sure. I will continue to learn, absorb, and share my knowledge, and hopefully crack the code before my departure from this Italian and European business adventure.

Adam Bendell is a GWSB Junior seeking a BBA with a double concentration in International Business and Supply-Chain Management (an individualized program).  Adam is studying through a petitioned program with John Cabot University.  Students interested in attending a program that is not GW’s list of approved study abroad programs may petition that program if they have a strong and clear argument about the unique academic reasons that the petitioned program meets their individual priorities.  Please note that all petitioned programs are reviewed on an individual basis.  What may be approved for one student may not be approved for another.  

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