I was in Italy for ten days as part of a mini study abroad program with my business school. We focused on local businesses and how they’re affected by globalization. We also studied how their practices are different from the big business mentality of the United States.
It was an absolutely amazing experience. I had so much fun, and I made a really great group of new friends. We started in Rome, where we stayed up for about 35 straight hours. That was an experience in itself. I didn’t know I was capable of doing that. We flew the entire night and then did a walking tour of all the major monuments that day. We saw the Colosseum, Trajan’s Column, Il Vittoriano, Caesar’s Forum, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps. We were all dragging, but it was so worth it.
The next day I was able to go to the Vatican, which I was enjoyed more than I thought I would. It was so ornate and beautiful. Saint Peter’s Basilica is a real masterpiece. It was built during the Medici family dynasty. Their corruption and wealth allowed for the ostentatious opulence of the Basilica.
From Rome we went to Siena. Siena is such a cool little town. It’s as if Disney made an Italian village. All of the streets are cobblestone and all of the buildings are made of stone. It is absolutely idyllic.
We visited a few wineries in Siena, one that is run by two sisters called Cesani. This is the one that my group is doing our presentation on. It was really cool to see the workings of a small, family-run business. Their mentality is so different from the US; they’re perfectly content with staying small.
After Siena was Florence. We stayed in the Hotel Pendini, which is so awesome. I felt like a princess. Their decor is gilded mirrors and crystal chandeliers. We had a view of the piazza, including the carousel and a building that was covered in sparkling lights for Christmas. Florence has the architectural charm of Siena with the nightlife of Rome. It was the perfect combination and I think it was almost everyone’s favorite city from the trip.
Milan was the last city we visited. It is much more modern than the others. It felt a bit like New York. We didn’t spend much time there, but I was okay with that because it meant we got to spend more time in Florence. Milan may have had my favorite duomo. I didn’t get the chance to go inside, but the outside it so cool. It reminded me of the dribble castles I used to make with wet sand at the beach.
I would absolutely recommend studying abroad in some capacity if you can. Whether you choose an entire semester, or a short trip, like I did, it is an amazing way to apply things you learn in the classroom to real life. It is also a great way to increase your independence, experience a new culture, make new friends, and create memories that will last a lifetime.