Over last week's spring break members of the business cohort traveled to Florence, Italy there the cohort attended a week-long study abroad program focused on how business is done in Italy. Meeting with city officials from both the Florence municipality and the US consulate students learned about the economic state of Italy and its various influencing factors. Meeting with businesses ranging from artisan wineries, luxury good producers, and American founded startups the differences between business in Italy and America were explored. A highlight of the trip, attending student Noah Turner said his favorite part of the trip was "being able to experience the cultural and working differences between Italy and the USA." This experiential learning helped students gain an understanding of the both economic and cultural differences that shape the similarities and differences between Italy and the United States.
Gaining a better understanding of foreign cultures and business, students obtained a greater global awareness that influenced their current understanding of the business world. Able to ask the businesses questions, students heard the first-hand experiences of how businesses approached industry challenges and continue to adapt in the modern and globalized business world. A tour of luxury watch maker, U-Boat, showed students the inner workings of the business and was leadership student Mackenzie Conroy's favorite experience of the trip.
The group was also immersed in the culture of Italy as well; the cohort enjoyed tours of the Tuscany countryside and the culturally rich cities of Florence and Sienna. Appreciating the different lifestyle of Italy, there was also a different business culture. Student Anna Plank found the most interesting part of the trip was "experiencing the small, close-knit atmosphere of many of the company headquarters. Most companies had less than 30 employees and had very impressive business models with large profit margins. It was interesting seeing how companies can maximize their resources in order to be successful with very few employees and plants."
Over the course of the trip the business cohort experienced an immersive cultural experience that broadened the horizons of the students. In line with the theme of the freshmen year experience, Leading Oneself, these students of the Buccino Leadership Institute gained a better understanding of themselves in learning how their own lives differed from others.