by Laura Beth Snipes, senior marketing major and marketing intern, Mike Cottrell College of Business
The Mike Cottrell College of Business offers two incredible study abroad opportunities for business students here at UNG. One of those programs is the Business and Culture in Italy month-long program located in Rome, Italy. Students take two courses over the month, one being Operations Management with Dr. TJ Gabriel, as well as another business course of choice that will fit into their plan of study. I spoke to Madelyn Alvarado, a current management major and Cottrell Scholar at the University of North Georgia, to hear all about her experiences, educational and personal, in the beautiful country of Italy.
Madelyn always wanted to study abroad at some point in college and, when she heard of the Italy program offered by the business school, she knew it would be the perfect fit for her. She always dreamed of going to Italy one day and she also knew the program would benefit her in her business career. Madelyn said that once she arrived in Italy she wanted to travel all of the time and experience as many things as possible while she was there, but she improved on her time management skills by keeping up with her course work and making good grades. She made sure to finish her homework early so that she did not have to worry about it when she was out enjoying the beauty of Italy. Madelyn also improved on her communication skills. Many people in Rome can speak English, but Madelyn said that there were times when she was traveling or even buying groceries, where she had to figure out if she was doing the right thing. It was easy for her to want to get frustrated in those kinds of situations, but she quickly learned how to keep a positive attitude and communicate so that anyone could understand her. Madelyn said that this easily applies to her classes and the real world, whether she is working in a group for a project or if she has a deadline to meet.
During her time in Italy, she had the privilege of visiting cities within Italy and seeing how unique each city is. She said that the beauty of the country was overall her favorite part of the trip. Italy has so much history and although Madelyn is not a history major, she found the stories and ancient ruins fascinating as well. While in Italy, Dr. Gabriel’s Operations Management class incorporated visits to Italian businesses into their schedule. Madelyn said that her favorite businesses were a hand weaving factory and a stained glass shop. Each of the businesses had stayed within their families for multiple generations and she found them to be a true art form.
Madelyn has already been able to see the benefits that this program has given her when it comes to internships. She recently applied for an accounting internship and the first question she was asked was about her Italy study abroad trip. Employers want you to be culturally aware of what is going on in the world and she can vouch for the fact that study abroad trips give you that cultural experience. Study abroad opportunities show future employers that you are able to adapt to change and that you’re flexible in situations that come your way.
If you are considering going on this trip, Madelyn’s best advice is to go for it. There are so many opportunities and life skills that you can acquire while abroad, and while there, you will get to see so many amazing places. Her biggest obstacle to going on this trip was coming up with the funds to go, but she spent her time applying for scholarships and those were a huge help. She said that there are so many scholarship opportunities out there; you just have to go searching for them. For Madelyn, studying abroad was a once in a lifetime experience.
And as for you, there will never be another time in your life when you can live in a foreign country for six weeks, learn the culture, and have experiences beyond those of an average tourist. I also studied abroad in Italy this summer (on a different trip) but can vouch for the experiences and value of studying abroad during your college career.
The deadline for applications for the Business and Culture in Italy experience is January 15, 2017. Make sure to visit the CGE website for more details.