I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to spend 10 days in Europe (Switzerland and Italy) on the Freshman Global Lab in the summer after Freshman year. The trip was incredible – 10 action filled days, 2 countries, 5 cities, very little sleep, great people, amazing memories. This was my, as well as many of the other students, first time overseas. It is just long enough to begin experiencing Europe, but not long enough to get homesick. Now, I can’t wait to go back next summer. Here are a wild 10 days in a few hundred words:
We visited close to 15 different companies during our trip – all unique, fascinating and thrilled to welcome us. Ranging from designing prototype supercars, to venture capital, to cloud storage – we covered everything and learned about international business and business practices unique to the culture. A few CEO’s even did a Q & A with us, which was pretty cool. On our visit at Chocolate Frey, Switzerland’s favorite chocolate, we got to tour the production facility and taste chocolate right off of the conveyor belt at different points of production.
One special note is that a few of our speakers were actually Buckeyes themselves, such as one who was born in Russia, now works in Switzerland, but earned her MBA at Fisher. Buckeyes really are everywhere.
There were great organized group activities, planned for us, and included in the cost. My favorite was visiting summit of Mount Titlis, one of the Swiss Alps, which was more than 30,000 feet above sea level. The snowcapped views were incredible, and we went sledding which was a ton of fun for a Florida boy like myself. In Italy, we took a food tour capped off with platters of finger foods, cheeses and desserts. We also had a local walk us through the Duomo De Milan, the world’s third largest church. Guided tours of each city we visited were also included.
One of the great things is that you have so much free time where you can do anything – including getting lost. My favorite memories are eating with all of my new friends, outdoors, embracing the delicious food and culture – like in Milan, Italy where we sat on a balcony and enjoyed some appetizers overlooking a picturesque plaza. Exploring European nightlife was also fascinating as their culture is quite different than ours. I also vividly remember sitting lakeside and enjoying an ice cream (so good) in Switzerland with some of my buddies.
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