Putting the “Study” in “Study Abroad”

Did you know that we’re going to school and not just leisurely traveling the world? Well, you better believe it: we’re actually going to class four days a week, Monday through Thursday. We are taking Basics of Marketing and International Marketing, each of which are an hour and 45 minutes every day. We are taking six credits, which sounds like a piece of cake, but honestly, it’s not.

If someone tells you study abroad classes are easy, they’re wrong. At John Cabot University, it is the norm to have short-answer and essay questions as tests. In the US, we often get multiple choice questions in which we just have to recall the information. Here, we must actually understand every piece of info we’ve learned. Wow, what a tough life we have… I know, it sounds ridiculous. To be honest, we just aren’t used to going to school in the summer, and with the fact that we’re abroad, all we want to do is travel and explore! Our professors understand, though, that we want to balance our studies with exploring the culture. We don’t have daily assignments or homework, just tests and a group project. Now let me tell you a little more about what we’ve been experiencing in our classes.

Basics of Marketing is taught by Professor Charles Schewe, a visiting American professor who teaches at UMass Amherst. He has so much experience and has worked for various important companies over the years. His credentials are actually mind-blowing. In our first class, he asked us to fill out student profiles and then proceeded to read every single one. He pulled Emily and I aside after class to talk about our trip to Sweden, which we mentioned in our profiles, because he’s been there as well for business. He told us about how he set up one of his students with an internship in Stockholm years back. This is one of the main reasons he requests our student profiles: so if an opportunity like an internship comes along, he can forward it onto the person he thinks would be right for it. He’s a great connection to have and an even greater professor.

International Marketing is taught by an Italian professor, Antonella Salvatore. Every class,  we look forward to seeing what classy, high-fashion outfit she has on. This woman knows how to dress, but she is one tough cookie. This class has given us so much perspective on the world because of our professor’s background, but also because we have numerous classmates from other countries like Morocco, Bulgaria, and France. We truly learn how to market in foreign countries. Our group project consists of trying to bring an existing company to an emerging country. We then take that analysis and come up with a marketing strategy. We do this project with assigned groups, which we’ve noticed she’s organized so that each group has a mix of nationalities. This has broadened our horizons as we’ve gotten used to working with people who have different worldviews and ideas. This class has been an international eye-opener for us.

Living and learning in Rome has been a truly unique experience, something you could never recreate anywhere else. Marketing is both of our majors and these have been the first classes we have taken related to it. With these two classes, we have realized we’ve made the right choice in our majors, which we are ecstatic about. We both have discussed how having a career dealing with international business is one of our new future goals.

Check out my blog about studying in Rome here!

fullsizerender-7Kristi Dobreff
Marketing Major
Hometown: Harrison Township, Michigan

Emily Miller
Marketing and Supply Chain Major
Hometown: Macomb, Michigan

Grand Valley State University – Study Abroad Summer I 2016

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