My experience abroad and how deeply it has affected me is truly difficult to put into words. I had the privilege of studying in the city of Venice- it was absolutely stunning and wonderful.
The two visiting professors that I had were excellent, one of which took our class on field trips to the art exhibits around Venice and made sure that we all understood the concepts of the class and gained hands-on experience. She truly cared about her students and would sometimes walk an hour in the floods in order to make it to the classroom to teach us. The flooding was quite an experience- it was the worst consecutive flooding that Venice had seen since records have been kept. Water buses sank as well as an entire bus station. The incoming mobility unit was very helpful to me after I had trouble with the technological side of the Ca’Foscari website and my student account. The schooling system was very different and difficult to navigate.
Despite only having two professors who were organized in their teachings, I learned more this semester than I have ever learned before. Traveling, in general, has taught me how to be independent, how to work well under pressure, how to connect with people from all walks of life, the ins and outs of international business, and so much more. Being in Venice specifically gave me such a deep appreciation for history and art, along with my Anthropology class which allowed us to explore Venetian art displays as well as discuss what they meant on a deeper social level. I have been fortunate to have had numerous experiences with warrant both educational and growth in my lifetime. With this said, I believe that my growth and intellectual growth has been enhanced by traveling more than anything. Being abroad is so rewarding because I want to encourage others to take that step for themselves. In my experience, living abroad creates tough problem solvers all while destroying preconceived judgments and stereotypes. With an open mind, respect for others, and the grit to get through a place or experience which is unfamiliar, there is no obstacle too daunting. It is my hope to be a part of others’ journeys in discovering this new-found confidence. Through budgeting, entrepreneurship, and networking I was able to accomplish all that I hoped to and I know that others can as well. My passion has only grown for experiencing other parts of the world.
When speaking about business specifically, having an international mindset after being out in the world will be invaluable as I move forward. I interned with a company in Hong Kong this summer and was able to learn how to market to the APAC region specifically. When arriving in Italy just after this, it was fascinating to learn how the European market was different in certain aspects to the United States and the APAC region. In general, I learned that marketing in Europe liked to take on a slightly more modest approach than in America. While companies still spend a huge percentage on marketing each year, they want the message to be slightly more upscale. Additionally, when advertising specifically, it is important to understand what type of humor, color code, or message is appropriate for each country. According to my studies at Ca’Foscari, these are a few of the things that we looked at when evaluating other cultures and countries based on how they operate: Individualism is when people are largely autonomous and motivated by personal preferences, needs, and rights. Collectivism occurs when people are motivated by the norm and duties imposed by the ingroup (close social circle).
People in countries of high individualism are more self-sufficient and less dependent on others. In individualist societies, people are concerned with distinguishing themselves from others and expressing uniqueness. Countries which value individualism include the USA, England, Sweden, and Denmark. Collectivist societies, on the other hand, are concerned with enhancing the cohesion and status of their ingroup. Countries that exhibit this are Korea, Japan, and Israel. There are numerous other categories of how to categorize a culture based on what they value and how they interact with one another and the outside world. It is incredibly important to consider these things when expanding a business into these places in terms of location, hiring, marketing, branding, and more. Even when entering a new culture for a simple business meeting it is crucial to know these things in advance to show the utmost respect and understanding for the situation at hand. I have no doubt that having learned these concepts both at Ca’Foscari and through my experience traveling and meeting others, I will make a better employee for any company. These are just a few things that I took away from my time in Venice, it was truly an experience of a lifetime and I am beyond grateful.