June 9, 2018

CIMBA Italy Global Immersion Student Blog

CIMBA Italy Global Immersion Student Blog
E.J. Stevens looks forward to leaving the U.S. for the first time and putting his business education to use in another culture.
E.J. Stevens, a first-year graduate student from Apple Valley, Minnesota, will study abroad in Paderno del Grappa, Italy, from May 11 to May 21. He is taking a supply chain management course with other graduate students from Nebraska, Iowa and Western Michigan. A member of the master of arts in business with a specialization in intercollegiate athletics administration (MAIAA) program, Stevens is looking forward to leaving the U.S. for the first time and putting his business education to use in another culture. He said, “The CIMBA program will give me the opportunity to enhance my education through an international experience in the beautiful country of Italy, which I have always wanted to travel to. I can’t wait to try the delicious Italian food as well!” He will also be traveling to Brussels, Belgium, and London after his program in Italy concludes.

6/7/18 – Final Voyage

Hanging out by the Thames River and the historic London Eye.
Hanging out by the Thames River and the historic London Eye.

As I packed up my things in Brussels to get set for my final voyage to London, the clock read 7:15 a.m. With my flight scheduled to take off at 9:50 a.m., it was time for me to hit the road. After a quick 15-minute tram ride to the Nord station, all that was left for me was a 20-minute bus ride to the airport, or so I thought. I saw that two different buses could get me to the airport from the Nord station, but one was a direct trip and another was a trip with multiple stops.

Unfortunately, I boarded the bus with multiple stops instead of the direct trip one, and it took over an hour to get to the terminal. By the time I arrived at the airport, it was 9:04 a.m. and I had 46 minutes before my flight. With a sense of urgency, I hustled to the front desk to check my suitcase. Since it was less than 45 minutes before the flight departure, they wouldn't let me check my bag there, so I had to go to another desk to go through an accelerated process. They warned me that it might not get to London on time, and in this case, I would have to file a claim for missing luggage. I said I understood and hustled through security.

By the time I got through security and security checked my carry-on, it was 9:31 a.m. I grabbed my bag and sprinted as fast as I could, thinking I was going to my gate. Instead, I was horrified as I saw a huge, winding line at border control. I started to stress out now as there were 19 minutes before my flight was scheduled to leave, and the end of the line was nowhere in sight. Starting to fear I would miss my flight, I began to check my phone for other transportation options. Behind me, I heard a man yelling out that there were 15 minutes until his flight and he needed to get through. I mentioned that I had the same issue and we looked for someone to talk to. We went all the way to the outside of the line, looking to meet with a security guard. Surprisingly, there was no one there to stop us and we got all the way near the front. We were tremendously lucky as one of the men at the front of the line let us cut in front of him after explaining that our flights were in ten minutes.

After getting through border control I checked the time and saw it was 9:41 a.m. I had nine minutes! With non-running shoes on and a full backpack, I began to sprint through the airport to get to my gate. Dipping and dodging through the crowd, I checked the monitor and saw that I had three minutes until they closed the gates. I couldn't miss it now! By the time I got to the gate, I was completely out of breath and drenched in sweat, but I had made it just in time! It was quite the relief as I boarded the plane for London in just the nick of time. What a relief!

It's only an hour flight to London, so upon arrival, I went directly to my hostel to check in. I only had one day in London before my flight back to the United States, so I wanted to make the most of it. I started by taking the "Tube" towards downtown London. The "Tube" is their form of public transportation, and it reminds me of a New York City subway, but goes much faster. When I arrived at my destination, I walked for hours around the city, taking everything in that I could. I walked down the south bank of the Thames River, getting to see the London Eye, Shakespeare's Globe and of course the London Bridge. Unfortunately, "Big Ben," which is the enormous clock that towers over the city, was under construction, so I didn't get to see it at its best.

The next stop on my London tour was at Westminster Abbey. The four sections of this historic section of the city represent the church, legislative, executive and judicial branches of the government. I loved walking through here and reading about the history there. The top highlight here was getting to see the gorgeous St. Margaret's church, which towers high above any other building on this particular block. Just down the road from Westminster Abbey is Buckingham Palace. One of the most famous buildings in London, this building has housed numerous gatherings between leaders of foreign nations. It's the London residence and administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom. I made sure to get a picture in front of Buckingham Palace with my "Start Something" rollabana. The person that took my picture there also went to graduate school in the Big Ten, but he went to Indiana. 

Posing in front of Buckingham Palace, repping the College of Business.
Posing in front of Buckingham Palace, repping the College of Business.

After walking around a bit longer through the London University area and through several local parks, it was time for dinner. I found a place near the college that looked like a traditional British restaurant. I had the house special, which was a sirloin and chips, which I chose over the fish in chips in what was a difficult decision. I washed it down with a ginger beer as I reflected on my crazy day that started with me thinking that I may not get to London at all.

Later that night I headed off to my hostel for one last good night sleep before heading back to the U.S. I wanted to make sure that I was more than early enough for my flight back home, as the flight from Brussels gave me more stress than I had planned on having that day. Spending a day in London was the perfect way to end my trip. Part of me didn't want to leave, but I knew that it was time to get back to the homeland.

I feel fortunate to have seen a part of the world I had never been to before and had only seen in pictures. From the winding hills of Tuscany, the historic monuments of ancient Rome, the twists and turns in the streets of Venice, and of course the Atomium and delicious waffles in Brussels, I felt like I stuffed so many memories in just a three-week period. Now that I have been here once, I already can't wait to go back one day. Next on the list is Ireland, France and Spain!

Until next time, ciao!


6/4/18 – Brussels, Belgium

Colton and I inside the Atomium Museum with a model of the famous artifact.
Colton and I inside the Atomium Museum with a model of the famous artifact.
After an outstanding trip to Rome, it was time to hit the next leg of my travels, which was a weekend trip to Brussels, Belgium. My friend Colton was scheduled to meet me there on Saturday, so I had Friday all to myself after taking a flight from Rome. When I arrived in the airport I mapped out how to get to the Airbnb I was scheduled to stay at. Thanks to Google Maps, I found this was quite easy to get to, but the most affordable way would be to take a train from the airport two stops and then board a tram, which would take me seven more stops before I would be at my destination.
 
My Airbnb happened to be right next to one of the tram stops, which made it super easy for the rest of the weekend to get public transportation into the downtown area as we could just look out our front window and see when the next tram was coming. When I got to the place, I immediately met the owner and her name was Heyde. She spoke both French and English, which made it easy for us to communicate with her. Most people in Belgium either speak French or Dutch. A much lower percentage speak English, but she was able to give us plenty of suggestions with what to do around the city.
 
Grand Palace in downtown Brussels.
Grand Palace in downtown Brussels.
A little while after settling in, I went to do some exploring downtown. I took the tram into Grand Central, which is pretty much the main tourist area in the city. I spent time seeing the Grand Palace, which is surrounded by a series of beautiful buildings made up of Gothic architecture dating back to the 14th century. I was also able to take part in a beer sampling tour in one of the museums in the Grand Place, trying several of their local craft beers. Beer is one of Belgium's specialties.
 
Later on I walked around and stopped by several other locations, one being the famous "Mannekin Pis" statue, which of course is a statue portraying a child peeing. I think this is a little strange but it is one of the most tourist-visited places in the city, so I had to check it out. Belgian chocolates are another must-try when in Brussels, and there were seemingly an endless amount of chocolate stores. I picked one where you could pick eight different chocolates to try for just three euros. Being a chocolate lover myself, I resisted the urges to scarf them all down and instead made sure to sample each individual flavor. I was quite proud of myself for taking my time and they were delicious!
 
When Colton arrived the next day, we made our way all around the city. We walked through the beautiful Botanical Garden, hiked up to the Notre Dame du Palais and even took the tram to the "Atomium," which is a landmark building in Brussels. Contructed in 1958, it's built of nine separate stainless steel spheres that portray the look of a real-life atom. Now a museum that tourists can purchase tickets to, the Atomium definitely takes first place in terms of most unique historical stops I have been to. You have to take an elevator and several incredibly steep escalators to get to each separate sphere in the atom. Each part has it's own special interior designs and different things you can learn about the science and engineering history of the city.
 
View from the top floor - restuarant area of the Atomium.
View from the top floor - restuarant area of the Atomium.
After getting to the very top, we found that there is a restaurant up there. We made sure to stop for a drink and of course their most famous food item, the Belgian waffle! Belgian waffles made up both of our breakfast and lunch main entrees that day. The best waffles we got were actually out of these yellow trucks that they have all over Brussels on the side of the road. It costs two euros for a waffle that they give to you in nothing more than a paper napkin, and they don't even have syrup on them. Nonetheless, they were no doubt the best waffles I have ever had, sorry Eggo.
 
Later that night we stopped by a place called Delirium, which is a famous bar located just a few minutes away from the Grand Palace Area. It is home to more than 2,000 different choices of beer, so of course it is packed almost every night. I wanted to try something original while I was there, so I tried a sour with a cherry flavor, but I didn't like it because it was much too sweet. Regardless of my beer choice, it was crazy to see a place like that with that kind of selection.
 
After spending a few days in Belgium with Colton, it was time for us to part ways as I had a flight to catch to London and he had a work training in Belarus. Overall, I really didn't know what to expect while visiting Belgium, but I was pleasantly surprised. The waffles were definitely my favorite food I tried there, while the french fries really didn't pique my interest as much as I thought they would. I personally thought they were overhyped, when they are supposed to be a Belgian specialty!
 
Anyways, ciao for now!

5/29/18 – Roma
 
Inside the Roman Colosseum.
Inside the Roman Colosseum.
My final night in Paderno del Grappa afforded me a chance to stay on campus for one more solid rest before heading off for a couple more weeks of travel. I had to take a train from Bassano, a town nearby Paderno, to Venice, where I had a connecting train that took me three and a half hours south to Rome. Scheduled to spend four days in Rome, I arrived at my hostel and spent a bit of time getting settled in while planning out my next few days. One of the things I learned about the city was that it uses a couple different metro lines (essentially a subway) to transport passengers to all different parts of the city. I made sure to study the routes so I knew how to get to each of the spots I wanted to hit in the city.
 
When I checked into my six-bed hostel room, I immediately met and introduced myself to the two guys who were hanging out in the room. Their names were Victor and Vittaly, who were both 24 years old and from Sweden. We quickly became friends and would spend the next few days exploring the city together. As the three of us went to dinner that night at a local restaurant, they both opted for pizza while I went with the cod (fish) and risotto. The house red wine on the docket was a must-try as well, so of course we felt obliged to order a glass.
 
The next morning we were up early and ready to take in some sites. The first stop was the beautiful Vatican Museum and Vatican City. With paintings and sculptures dating back hundreds of years, the museum rose up three floors and wound around several acres downtown. We spent three hours there before getting lunch. After lunch, we hopped back on the metro and headed down to the famous Roman Colosseum. Surprisingly, the lines were short to get into the venue and we were inside within ten minutes. We picked the right time to go as there was a perfect breeze and we were able to see the sunset in the background while inside the historic complex. Built between 70-80 A.D., the Colosseum is the largest amphitheater ever built. Getting to know more about the history of it was fascinating and I made sure to take it all in and learn everything I could.
 
Hanging out in the Vatican City with my new Swedish friends Victor and Vittaly.
Hanging out in the Vatican City with my new Swedish friends Victor and Vittaly.
After a full night’s rest, we were off again early to see more of this picturesque south Italy city. We started by taking the metro to the Trevi Fountain, which is one of the most famous fountains in the world. This was tourist central with many people trying to get close for a picture and it’s hard to blame them as it’s gorgeous. We then walked down the street on the way to see the Pantheon, but before we got there we ran into a “genie” who seemed to be hovering in the air on the street. Although clearly an optical illusion, I respected the effort of him being out there and in costume so I got a picture with him. Great guy! Like the Colosseum, the Pantheon was built centuries ago and is one of the most historic sites in all of Rome. With its trademark exterior lined by almost 30-foot-high pillars, it’s a hard place to miss. Paintings of religious figures and statues carved out in the 14th century can be seen all over the building. There is even a spot in the middle where the light comes shining in from up top, and it’s a great thing to see. After the Pantheon, we ended the day by heading back to the Vatican City at sunset. We waited in line for 20 minutes or so to get into St. Peter’s Basilica, one of the most famous cathedrals in the world. It’s awesome to see the history there. My favorite part may have been the stone engravement of every single pope of the Catholic church and how long they served in that capacity. The Sistine Chapel was another stop me made there as well.
 
An extra thing that we could do was climb to the dome of the Basilica. The cost of eight euros to do this seemed like a bargain after seeing the unbelievable views from the top. It took an elevator and ten minutes of climbing through winding staircases to get there, but up top we were delighted to be able to see the entire city right as the sunset fell over Rome. That was the last time that Victor, Vittaly and I hung out as they had to leave to head back to Sweden. We all exchanged contact information and are hoping to meet abroad once again in the future. Seeing the views from one of the highest points in the city was a perfect way to cap our time together.
 
The next day was my last in Rome, so I set out to do some solo sightseeing for the day. I went to see the Villa Borghese, Piazza Navonna and the Roman Forum. The Forum was my favorite part of the day as I spent over three hours walking all around the historic site, reading the descriptions of the different buildings and remains of what once was in ancient Rome. The view from the top plaza of the Forum gives you an aerial view of the area, so I made sure to get a couple pictures here!
 
I must say that Rome was my favorite stop yet. The combination of the historic sites, wonderful food and fun nightlife ensured that this lovely city will provide fond memories for years to come! After taking a train to the Roma Fiumicino airport at 5 a.m. I am set to board my flight for Brussels, Belgium, where I will spend the weekend. Until next time, ciao!

5/23/18 - Milan

 After a great few days in Florence, I once again packed up my belongings and headed off to another city in Northern Italy. This time, it was Milan. Milan is much different than Florence as it has a much more industrial feel to it, whereas most of Florence was built hundreds of years ago. I got to the city in the early afternoon and checked into my hostel, which was just a short walk away from the train station.
 
I only had a short day-and-a-half trip planned before I had to get back to Paderno del Grappa for my weekend class, so I had a lot to pack in. Almost right away, I met two guys from the UK, Tom and Sam. Besides getting to see the city, the timing worked out perfectly because the popular musical artist G-Eazy happened to be performing in Milan that night. Me, Tom and Sam decided to go to the concert together. This was the first time for all of us being in the city, and to get to the concert we had to take a bus to one stop, get off and wait for the tram to take us the right direction to the concert. Surprisingly, we got there on time and without getting off on any of the wrong stops. It made me anxious because it was hard to hear the stop names in a crowded bus and they were all in Italian, which made it even harder for me. I made sure to follow along with the stops on my phone so I could see exactly where we were at all times during the ride.
 
American Hip-Hop artist G-Eazy performing in Milan.
American Hip-Hop artist G-Eazy performing in Milan.
The concert was at an event center called “Fabrique” in downtown Milan. G-Eazy is well known in the U.S., but it surprised me how popular he is overseas. The capacity crowd absolutely loved the whole thing and I was glad I decided to go! The next morning, I woke up and went sightseeing for a couple hours. My first stop, the Duomo di Milano, is one of the largest cathedrals in the world. It towers above any other church that I have ever seen and it was absolutely beautiful. The precision and beauty of it is magnificent. It doesn’t surprise me that it took nearly six centuries to build. Other highlights of the trip included seeing the Church of Santa Marie delle Grazie and Sant Ambrogio.
 
The short trip to Milan ended that afternoon and the time came for me to head back to Paderno del Grappa. Unfortunately, halfway through the trip, the train broke down in the middle of the Italian countryside and smoke poured out from one of the engines. Many people were scared and ran off the train out of fear. We waited for about 15 minutes and got back on the road, but the same thing happened again a half hour later. Luckily for us, the rest of the two-hour ride was uninterrupted, and we made it safely back to Venice.
 
On Saturday and Sunday, we once again had class from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. which concluded with us presenting in groups of three on the results of our case analysis project. We read and analyzed a 20-page Supply Chain Management case before putting together a seven-page paper. I am very used to doing case analysis now through my work in the Nebraska MBA classes this year, so this was not a big deal for me. Our class ended on Sunday night with a group get-together in a city near Paderno called Bassano. Our professor brought us all out for “apertivo,” which of course is like happy hour in Italy. We all made sure to enjoy plenty of red wine in what would be our last class meetup! I loved getting to meet the full-time MBA students in the CIMBA Italy program and I will be sure to keep in touch with them as we move forward in our careers. The great people have made this trip extremely memorable for me!
 
I will be in Rome this week before heading to Brussels, Belgium for the weekend! I will make sure to keep you updated. Ciao!

5/17/18 - Buongiorno!

E.J.’s view from Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence
E.J.’s view from Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence.
It’s been an action packed last few days for me. I type this on my train ride from Florence, Italy, to Milan. I left off in my last post just after meeting my new friends Jake and Alex at the hostel in Venice my first night. The next morning, the three of us took the water taxi to San Zaccaria for a walking tour around the city.
 
It’s a good thing we had an experienced guide as Venice is such a unique city. It’s surrounded by water and the people there either use boats or walk everywhere they need to go. We were so confused at first because it seemed impossible to navigate. Each street and walkway was so narrow, yet there were restaurants, shops and hotels engrained in the strangest areas of the city that you would never expect.
 
I couldn’t believe how the city was set up, it’s just so impractical to have a populated city like that in the middle of water with no cars or public transportation besides boats. However strange it seemed, the beauty of Venice cannot be understated. The views from climbing the Rialto Bridge overlooking the Grand Canal at sundown were miraculous.
 
It was definitely a cool place to visit, but I could never see myself living there. The tour guide explained that 50,000 people live in Venice, but on any given day they welcome at least 75,000 tourists. It’s become quite expensive to live there and the invasion of tourists each day contributes to the restaurants and shops raising their prices significantly.
 
St. Marco Square is the main tourist attraction in Venice. A large area located next to San Zaccaria, the Basilica di San Marco is its top attraction. I know I’m basic, but for the record I did NOT contribute to the festivities that day in a place the locals like to call “selfie square.” Nope, not this time! The main island has many different sections that I went and saw, including the university area where the college is and the Jewish ghetto. Built in the 1500s, the Jewish ghetto is home to the tallest buildings in Venice. Many are very worn down and uninhabited now, but that section of Venice had my favorite restaurants by far.
 
Posing at one of the many bridges overlooking a canal in Venice.
Posing at one of the many bridges overlooking a canal in Venice.
The favorite happy hour drink in Italy is called “spritz.” It is prosecco, tonic water and orange flavoring and the proper name for it is “Aperol.” Alex, Jake and I stopped at one of the restaurants in one of the back alleyways of the Jewish section of Venice for a spritz to go along with our lunch. I had the best lasagna there that I have had in my life (besides my Mom’s). They say to find the authentic restaurants in Venice, you have to “get lost,” because all of the touristy places are along the Grand Canal or in crowded sections. I know this place was authentic because I had to look up what the food options were through an English translator on my phone.
 
After a day-and-a-half excursion through Venice, I boarded a train for the beautiful town of Florence, Italy on Tuesday morning. The hostel, conveniently located ten minutes away from the station and downtown Florence, was much less crowded than my first hostel. In fact, I was the only person in my six-bed room for the first two nights there. Nevertheless, I set out by myself to see the capital city of Italy, and perhaps the most historic as well.
 
I started my journey at the Galleria dell’Accademia, home to several of Michelangelo’s best pieces of work. His masterpiece is, of course, the “David,” a larger than life statue of a naked man that tourists especially love to come and see. After wandering around the gallery for a while I decided to check out the next few items on my “sites to see” list, which included the Baptistry of St. John, the Florence Cathedral and Giotto’s Campanile (the bell tower).
 
“The Cattedrale,” in proper Italian form, is one of the oldest standing churches in Italy. Construction began in the year 1296 and wasn’t completed until 1436. The “Duomo” is the massive dome-like structure on top of the cathedral that makes it the largest domed church in the world. The inside of the dome has beautiful pictures of Jesus, the Choir of Angels, Mary and Saints, Gifs of the Holy Spirit and Beatitudes that were painted on hundreds of years ago. The art, stained glass windows and overall design was spectacular. Later that day I climbed Giotto’s Campanile, which is 277 feet tall and features numerous sets of seemingly never-ending staircases. Nevertheless, I made it to the top!
 
The view of the Duomo on top of the Florence Cathedral from the roof of the bell.
The view of the Duomo on top of the Florence Cathedral from the roof of the bell.
My last full day in Florence may have been my favorite day in Italy thus far. I signed up for an electronic bike (E-Bike) tour around the city. The Tuscany region of Italy, especially Florence, has a ton of hills. The E-Bikes can be controlled with a throttle and have different speeds you can adjust the bike to, so there is minimal strain on your legs. Not saying I couldn’t have pulled it off, but this was helpful while going up all the hills! Our tour guide, born and raised in Florence, knew the city’s history inside and out. He explained to us how the city was divided when Charles V of Spain invaded and caused destruction to many of the beautiful town’s buildings before the Medici family took over the city. Their dynasty lasted over three centuries from 1434 to 1737.
 
The best part of the tour had to be winding through the beautiful hills of Tuscany, across the bridge overlooking the river and up to Piazzale de Michelangelo. This is one of the most beautiful locations in Florence as it overlooks the entire city. I brought out my basic side here and got a picture, but come on, can you blame me?
 
After the tour it was time for dinner. I traveled back to my hostel to see that I finally had a few roommates! One of them, Maurlo, greeted me with a “Ciao,” and I said it right back. He started speaking in fluent Italian after that. I must be getting good at saying “Ciao,” but it’s too bad I’m limited after that. I spoke to him then in English, and he told me to slow down. He understood English, but he told me to talk slow so he could comprehend. He and I hung out, talked and eventually got pizza together. Like myself, Maurlo is a big basketball fan. He turned on the Serie A (Italian League) playoffs and we watched together. I recognized some of the players because they used to be standouts in college in the U.S. before going overseas to play professionally.
 
He told me all about his life in Naples, Italy, and it was truly fascinating to learn more about this man. He had been through a lot. I told him all about the U.S., especially Minnesota and Nebraska. Maurlo is now considering moving to Nebraska to open his own pizza restaurant, as we both agreed Lincoln could use some authentic Italian cuisine!
 
If you stuck with me this long, I hope you enjoyed it! I will be back in a couple days to talk about my experiences in Milan. Ciao!


5/13/18 - A CIMBA Welcome

View of CIMBA’s campus in Paderno del Gappo.
View of CIMBA’s campus in Paderno del Gappo.

Ciao! My first weekend in Italy is officially in the books. After taking my initial flight from Minneapolis into Toronto, my connecting flight brought me into Venice, Italy, where I landed at approximately 9:10 a.m. local time. I was full of excitement and couldn't seem to get comfortable on the eight-hour flight so I only slept about an hour and a half. When the pilot announced that we were descending over Venice and ready for landing, all eyes darted to the nearest window as we glanced at the city. Ever since I was young and read about the city being connected by bridges and canals, I was intrigued. I made it a goal of mine to visit one day, and now here I am!

 

I arranged for a taxi to meet me at the airport and the driver met me at baggage claim upon my arrival. His name was Andrea and he did not speak much English but seemed to understand when I talked to him. On the way to the CIMBA campus in Paderno del Grappa, we hit bad traffic and it took us an hour and a half to get there. I didn't mind much though because I was enjoying the beautiful scenery as we drove past. Like a sponge, I tried to absorb everything I saw. From the gorgeous Italian countryside to the unique architecture, this was a place unlike any I had seen before.

 

When I arrived at the campus, it was time to tip the driver, or so I thought. I tried to give him five euros in addition to what he was asking for, but he kept giving it back to me before telling me to go. It is not expected that you tip your servers or cab drivers in most European countries, but I didn't find that out until later. When I walked in, I was immediately greeted by the program leader and several of the full-time MBA students at CIMBA. Much like the MABA program at Nebraska, they offer an accelerated 11-month, full-time master's program where students come from all over the world to attend. Several of the students are from the U.S., and one was even from the same city as me in Minnesota, although he is a few years older so I didn't know him.

 

Right away the students were very friendly and outgoing. They invited me to come to a nearby restaurant with them. I quickly learned that the supply chain class we would take together would be their last class before all of them would travel to Iowa for their graduation ceremony in July. Several of the students were born and raised in Italy, so this would be the first time going to the U.S. for many of them. I assured them going to Iowa would be nothing to be nervous about (although to me Nebraska is significantly better), and in exchange they were kind enough to teach me some simple phrases in Italian, which is still a work in progress.

 

We had class from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, which is a typical class timeframe for the CIMBA students. Although there are several breaks throughout the day, it was still a long day. I love our professor, who works at Ohio State University's business college during the school year. He makes the course very interactive and makes learning the ins and outs of supply chain management much more fun than it would be otherwise.

 

I'm already 100 percent sold on the food here in Italy.
I'm already 100 percent sold on the food here in Italy.

After class, I took some time to do some exploring. I walked around the beautiful campus, which sits just south of the Italian Alps. Everywhere you look, you see hillside groups of houses or buildings with the mountains in the background. There are a ton of trails to the north of campus, so I decided to go on a run back there and do some exploring. I had to stop and take some pictures a couple times because I'm super basic and the scenery was too majestic to not stand back and appreciate it for a second.

 

Later that night, several of my classmates and I went over to a city 15 minutes from Paderno called Asolo. Asolo is much bigger than Paderno, and they have a plethora of restaurant options. There was a group of 10 of us that went out to eat there and everyone got their own pizza. Several of us tried the house vino blanc wine. I'm already 100 percent sold on the food here in Italy and it may be tough to go back to eating the pizza back in Nebraska (sorry Valentino's). After dinner, we took a walk through the town and saw their famous cathedral, which was built in 1747. It was great getting to know the full-time CIMBA students better and they didn't seem to mind playing the role of tour guide.

 

After class on Sunday, I caught a ride with one of the other visiting MBA students from Nebraska back to Venice. I took the vaparetto (ferry) from the airport to the port of San Zaccarria, and it took nearly an hour and a half to get there. When I finally did, it was pouring rain and I had to find my way to the water taxi to take me to Zitelle, which is where my hostel is located. In the rain and not sure of where to go, I spit out some broken Italian to some people nearby about where I needed to go and they graciously pointed me in the right direction.

 

I checked into my hostel and sorted out my belongings when two guys walked into the room. I chatted them up and asked where they are from. What do you know, they are brothers who both attended Nebraska and live in Omaha! What are the chances?

 

Since we don't have class until next Saturday, I am taking advantage of the week off to do some traveling. I will be staying in Venice until Tuesday before taking a train to Florence that afternoon. I will then head to Verona and Bologna for a couple days before going back to Paderno on Friday night. Stay tuned to hear about the nonsense I get myself into next week!


5/4/18 - Stepping Out of Comfort Zone Leads to Studying Abroad

E.J. Stevens started the MAIAA program in the fall of 2018.
E.J. Stevens started the MAIAA program in the fall of 2018.
As a graduate student in the MAIAA program, this has been a year of tremendous growth for me. I spent the first 23 years of my life living in Minnesota and attending school there, but when I got into the graduate program of my dreams here at Nebraska, I picked up everything I own and moved here to Lincoln.
 
Adjusting to living in a new place definitely took some time for me, but I am so happy to be living and working in Lincoln right now. As a graduate assistant in the Communications, Marketing and External Relations office this past year, I have gotten to build excellent relationships with my colleagues and classmates that have made my time here fly by.
 
One of the reasons I have enjoyed my time here so much is because I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone and tried new things. From traveling to Texas for the National Sports Forum Case Cup competition to working the NCAA Basketball Regional in Omaha, I have gotten to have experiences that would never have happened if I would have sat back and blended in like I have at times in the past.
 
The next step of my journey of getting myself to try new things is to travel abroad. I heard of the CIMBA Italy study abroad program through the Business Graduate Programs office and was instantly intrigued. A two-week program where I would take a supply chain management class and get to study in the beautiful city of Paderno del Grappa, Italy, seemed like a perfect match for what I wanted.
 
I’m looking forward to getting to learn about a culture that is unfamiliar to me while also doing plenty of sightseeing, enjoying Italian cuisine and building relationships with my peers and faculty. When I am not in class, I am planning on visiting Venice and Rome. I will be staying in Europe for eight more days after my class ends, meeting a friend in Brussels, Belgium, and then traveling to London before my flight takes me back to the U.S.
 
The excitement for this trip continues to build for me. I can’t believe the time is almost here! I’ll be sure to keep you all updated on my travels!

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