This past semester I had the incredible opportunity to study abroad in Florence, Italy. It is hard to fully capture how 118 days of both studying and traveling throughout Europe has transformed my perspective. While I spent most weekends exploring other cities and countries, my favorite aspect of studying abroad was being welcomed into the home of an Italian family. I had the most incredible host mom, Giovanna, who cooked authentic Italian meals each night. It was not uncommon to come home to the aroma of chocolate cake in the oven, with Giovanna’s two energetic grandkids running throughout her home. Ironically, I was most nervous about living with a host family, yet it became pivotal in my abroad experience. I came to appreciate the art of Italian cuisine and the relaxed culture, two things that I hope to bring back to Syracuse.
Before the start of the semester, I witnessed the importance of environmental conservation through a 10-day intensive class on sustainability in northern Europe. During this course, I traveled to Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Ivalo (which is part of the arctic circle). I learned about sustainable business practices in the most environmentally friendly places in the world. I had coffee with the indigenous population of Scandinavia and heard firsthand how global warming is affecting their livelihood of reindeer farming and dog sledding. I also handfed reindeer which was a nice bonus! This is experiential learning that cannot be absorbed in a classroom.
In my strategic management class, we talked about the triple bottom line. It’s a way to evaluate a business on three different aspects: how it impacts people, the planet and lastly, its profits. I have read about the climate crisis through the classes for my minor but never imagined seeing firsthand the impacts of our actions thousands of miles away in the arctic circle.
It was this experience that proved the global aspect of business and the responsibility that we not only have as consumers but also as future business leaders to our environment. All of the dots that were planted through my academic experiences at Syracuse University seemed to connect through this 10-day sustainability seminar. Studying abroad challenged me in ways that allowed me to see far beyond the textbooks that I read on campus. I was able to witness how the actions we take create a ripple effect that spreads throughout the world. While it certainly differed from an ordinary semester in Syracuse, I was able to learn an extraordinary amount about myself and the world around me.
Learn more about my study abroad experience by exploring the blog I kept throughout the semester.
- Studying Abroad Reflection: Experiencing a Global Business Perspective - January 23, 2020