Mihaylo College lives out its mission to produce globally aware business leaders and provide international immersive experiences to students. The Center for International Business assists in creating and supporting international study initiatives for business students through the Business Europe Study Tours (BEST) Program, the Heidelberg Program, and the Business Honors Study Abroad Program. This post is the first in a series of six articles written by Mihaylo accounting student, Elizabeth Garcia ’14, narrating her unique study abroad experiences in Florence, Italy. Elizabeth is currently enrolled in a semester long program at the Lorenzo de’Medici International Institute in Italy, through CSUF’s Global Student Experience.
Welcome to my virtual playhouse typing to you halfway across the globe in Firenze, Italia! My name is Elizabeth, but call me Eli. As a fifth-year business student anticipating the bittersweet commencement in a couple of short months, chances are I might have sat next to you in an accounting or finance class; I may have reviewed your résumé or cover letter at Mihaylo Career Services; maybe I struck a conversation with you in the infamous Starbucks line, or I may have given you one too many Campus Special coupon books. Whatever the case may be, I hope you find as much joy and inspiration in my posts as I do in these 102.4 kilometers that Google Maps calls Florence.
Deciding to study abroad during the last semester of my undergraduate career was risky and scary, but someone had to do it. I committed to the next four months of a lifetime with the Global Student Experience program at CSUF which provides housing, tuition, several day and overnight trips to destinations throughout Italy and unlimited access to all the great museums throughout Florence. Travels to Rome, Viareggio, and Cinqueterre are led by on-site director Chiara, who quickly became one of my favorite aspects of the program. My traditional apartment (complete with adorable window shutters and oversized mosquitos) sits in the heart of Florence, about a two-minute walk from the historic Duomo, Piazza de la Republica, the Ponte Vecchio, and two Zara stores. My usual walk to class through the Mihaylo Foyer and past the Mihaylo statue has been replaced with a casual walk past a 400-year-old architecturally innovative church and countless historical renaissance statues…I’m sure Mr. Mihaylo would approve of this new route to class.
Now, I’m halfway through the semester, satisfying my last global business course requirement and taking a few exciting business fashion courses to completely satisfy my interests. Just as with all matters in life, I wanted my experience to be specific, memorable and purpose driven so I set a few goals which can be summed up in two general yet important words: LEARN and NETWORK.
LEARN: I truly believe in the significance of a multi-dimensional and global education. We’re all at MCBE for several reasons: to eventually get a job, to join clubs and attend workshops, and of course, to enjoy free pizza and ask Dean Puri a meaningful question during the annual Meet the Dean event. Most importantly, students should have one main priority: to learn. The art of learning has so much value and is often overlooked. Whether I’m learning in the classroom in another country, picking the brain of these insightful professors during a coffee break, or reading an interesting article found in The Economist, learning takes many different forms and I hope to continue this great habit even after earning that “A” in MGMT 449.
NETWORK: As a business student, if this hasn’t been drilled in that analytical and creative brain of yours, I’m here to remind you the importance of networking and building a brand for yourself. I have met so many interesting and industry relevant individuals in my short time here; it’s both exhausting and exciting. Just like learning, networking comes in many forms, whether it starts with a random conversation at a café or a formal classroom trip to a nearby boutique, as long as one in curious, willing to listen, and believe, he or she can add value to the conversation, welcome networking with a listening ear and an open mind.
I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences and overall impressions of my travels abroad. On that note, keep this in mind, future business leaders of the world: Unlike that $5 mocha frapp, traveling is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. Sounds like a pretty attractive ROI to me.
You can read more of Eli’s international travels and cultural experiences on her personal blog at elisinsight.blogspot.com.