Thanks, Europe: Solidifying My Major

Freshman Global Lab 2016 in Switzerland & Italy. Immersing herself in both the business culture and social tendencies of Switzerland and Italy, Tori Weiner discusses how Freshman Global Lab helped her solidify her major.

Standing atop Mount Titlis in the Swiss Alps, about half way through my first trip to Europe, I realized the power of travel, the power of business, and the power of networking.  Hopping on a mini sled down the side of the Alps, screaming with excitement and lack of air due to high altitude with my friend and classmate, Madie, brought a feeling of ultimate euphoria and a bond to the cohort of students on The Fisher College of Business’s Freshman Global Lab.  From Zurich to Bern to Lucerne, Switzerland’s picturesque cities embody the exact image of Europe.  Walking the streets and taking the trams to restaurants and city centers allowed me to envision myself as a working adult in the real world.  Only 10 days away from the excessive monotony of America opened my eyes to the power of travel and the effects it can have on one’s personal and career-related choices.

Students pose for a classic “O-H-I-O” at the top of Mount Titlis.

Because Switzerland is one of the financial capitals of the world, we met with investment and accounting firms to wet our palettes with that aspect of business.  Reflecting back on the trip, those 2-hour company visits ignited the reality of college, deciding on a major, and creating the start to my future.  To truly immerse myself in the experience, I asked at least one question at each company we visited to show my appreciation for their time and to enrich my interest and understanding of the interconnectedness of international and domestic business.  Seeing the variety of options and reliable career paths inspired me to further research finance once back at school and picture myself in one of those investment firms.

Torino and Milan brought gelato, sports cars, pasta, and fashion.  When I found out we were going on a food tour of Torino’s main square, Piazza San Carlo, my dreams came true.  The first solid food I ate as a child was pasta, so to truly experience a 5 course Italian meal (with the best pasta I have ever eaten, ever) really brought the trip full circle.

During their time in country students met with trendsetters in the field of automotive design, Italdesign and Pinifarina Extra.

Visiting Pininfarina, a household name in sports car design known for servicing Ferrari, Maserati, and Alfa Romeo, brought my childhood conversations with my father about our shared love for cars to life.  Learning how the owners transformed their experience with designing cars into designing hotels, yachts, headphones, and more was fascinating.  As they went into detail about the relationships between the design teams and marketing teams of both themselves and the companies that were requesting their services reminded me of my draw to marketing, but didn’t give me the same feeling I had in the investment and financial firms.  Some of my friends became entranced at the prospect of interning for such a prestigious house of design; when I didn’t share those feelings, I knew marketing wasn’t for me.  Without this trip and catching snapshots of real world business, I would always be wondering if I enjoyed another aspect of business enough to switch my focus.  I found myself dreaming about the New York Stock Exchange and real estate investments rather than ad campaigns and digital media.

Without the ingenuity of design houses, the risks of financial investment firms, and the technological efficiency of supply chain companies, the world would not go round.  I could not be more thankful for studying abroad through Fisher; without FGL, I would not be applying into a different major or have the confidence to pursue what I want in life.  Meeting over 30 new friends, whom all share similar goals and interests, was a definitive highlight of the trip.  Being able to say goodbye at the Milan airport after approximately 4 hours of sleep, due to an epic final night in Italy, and know the friendships I made will continue inside and outside of the classroom bumped going abroad up to the best decision I made as a freshman.

Top 5 – Tips for Traveling on a Global Lab

Freshman Global Lab 2016 in Switzerland & Italy. Alexandria Jackson, a rising sophomore in the business school, gives her top 5 “To Do’s” for students when traveling on Freshman Global Lab.

Traveling with the Freshman Global Lab was not my first time out of the country, actually visiting these two countries I was able to visit my fifth continent! But traveling on a Global Lab was a little different than my previous travel experiences. Here are my tips to make sure your time goes by as smoothly and productively as possible.

Tip 1: Packing

A tip for deciding what to pack on a business trip like this is to make sure you have the essentials—your business clothes. The next thing to consider when packing is to bring versatile pieces. This makes it easy for you to fit more things in your suitcase and the ability to mix and match when in country! Another tip for packing, specifically for the girls, is to not forget to toss in a sundress! It will come in handy when you get to go on a night out or to dinner. Lastly, make sure you have comfortable walking shoes for both your business shoes and causal shoes. We walked so much in Europe around different cities that having comfortable shoes is a must!

Tip 2: Traveling

Wear comfortable clothing and easy to slip off shoes to the airport! Nothing is more frustrating than someone who cannot get their shoes off in security. Also, keep your ID and passport handy you will have to present it to multiple people. On the plane, try to get some sleep because the time change when traveling internationally can be hard to adjust to. When in the country make sure you enjoy every minute of it, this may be your only time visiting these countries! On this trip we had a lot of long bus rides so try not to fall asleep during those long bus rides and listen to the tour guides. You will get to see and experience some great things while in country such as the beautiful scenery.

Tip 3: The Business Visits

The main reason for the trip is business, therefore pay a lot of attention in the business visits. Not only can you gain valuable information about how businesses operate in Europe but also you are able to figure out which business specializations you are and are not interested in. In this trip we visited many logistics and finance companies, and I realized that these are two specializations I am not interested in. However, I realized during the chocolate factory tour that I was interested in marketing. As we were touring the facility I was able to talk to our tour guide about why they package their chocolate the way they do, such as the packaging color and font. This affirmed my interest in the marketing specialization and allowed me to look more into marketing. The chocolate factory just so happened to be the best business visit on the trip!

At the factory we were able to tour the facility and pour our own chocolate!

Tip 4: Keep an Open Mind

I know that going into international travel with people you barely know seems crazy, but don’t go in with any pre-conceived notions about them! Enjoy the trip and get to know everyone, you will meet some great people on this trip! I made great friends on this trip and we still get together even though the trip has ended! Depending on the country you will be visiting you will most likely experience some sort of culture shock. I think it is a good idea to understand a little bit about the country’s culture and customs before you travel the country. Also, fully immerse yourself in the culture! Try new foods, talk to the people, and to get the most out of the trip!

Tip 5: Enjoy the Trip

Although business is the main objective of the trip you have to enjoy the country from perspective of a tourist! When we were in Switzerland and Italy we asked the locals for the best places to eat and shop! The people in both countries were very friendly and helpful when we asked them questions. In Switzerland we actually met a group of college students who sat and ate with us where we both shared what it was like to be a college student in our home country. When in country make sure you eat all you can! In Italy we ate gelato every day and sometimes twice a day!

I hope these tips gave you a piece of mind about the Freshman Global Lab trip! By following these tips, the most daunting parts of the trip should become a breeze! Enjoy your trip!

Top 10 Reasons to Go on the Freshman Global Lab

Hello! My name is Ellie and I’m a second year Finance major. This past May I went on the Freshman Global Lab to Cologne, Germany; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Brussels, Belgium; and London, England. I am a big fan of lists, so below is my list for my top 10 reasons to go on the Freshman Global Lab.

  1. One of my favorite things about the Freshman Global Lab was that it combined a required business class with real-life examples. Reading in a textbook can help you understand a concept, but nothing compares to experiencing it in person. The trip was a great way to sum up our class, Intro to International Business, which business majors will need to take anyway to graduate!
  1. The Freshman Global Lab is a great way to get experience studying and traveling abroad. If you want to go abroad sometime during college, but you aren’t sure if you want to go a full semester, this is a great way to see what it’s like.
Photo by Kozue Isozaki
View of Central London
  1. One major part of our trip was the business visits. It was very interesting to me to see businesses in my area of specialization. Since I am a finance major, one of my favorite memories of the trip was being able to observe one of the trading floors at a major investment bank in London. It helped me realize that finance is the right specialization for me!
  1. Another bonus of the trip is that you can also see businesses in other areas. I had previously thought that I wasn’t interested in manufacturing, but after touring several businesses in Cologne, Germany, I found that a lot of the things they were doing were actually very interesting. It surprised me how much common ground there actually is, even between companies that seem to produce completely different products and services.
Photo by Kozue Isozaki
Igus factory
  1. Meet new people and make new friends! Sometimes it’s hard to meet other business majors as a freshman since many of the freshman classes are general education classes. It was nice to be able to meet people in class, and then become better friends with them over the course of the trip.
Photo by Ellie Schriner
Sunset in Cologne, Germany
  1. Business visits aren’t the only component of this trip; you will also have the chance to go sightseeing!
  1. In addition to going to major landmarks and buildings, we also had the opportunity to go to museums and experience the history of the countries we visited. Some of my favorites were the Tower of London and the Crown Jewels, as well as El De Haus, which is a former Gestapo prison in Germany.
Photo by Kozue Isozaki
Freshman Global Lab 2014 at the British Museum
  1. Before I traveled to Europe, I assumed that their culture would be mostly the same as that of the United States. While there are quite a few similarities, it was interesting to experience new cultures and look at the ways that they do or see things differently from people in the US.
  1. The food. I had some of the best food on this trip. We were able to try authentic German food, true Belgian waffles, fish and chips, and many other local specials. We also got to try some of the European chain brands like Nando’s and Wagamama (both of which were very good!).
  1. It may sound cliché, but my final reason to go on the Freshman Global Lab is simple. It’s fun! I loved being able to explore new cities, meet new people, and see international business. I would highly recommend the Freshman Global Lab to all Fisher Direct freshmen, no matter what your specialization is. It was a once in a lifetime experience and I hope others can enjoy it as much as I did!
Photo by Kozue Isozaki
Group after visits to SolarWorld and Johan Maria Farina

Freshman Global Lab Site Visits

On the fourth day of the trip was our first site visit! It was with Angelini Pharmaceuticals. Their visit was very well organized. They took a lot of hey took a lot of effort to explain their facility and business as well as the effects of the economy on them. Their agenda included a company presentation, facility tour, coffee and snack break, question and answers, as well as their current research and development projects.

Outside of the facilities
The group during the presentation.
Our lunch break was delicious!
So good!

After lunch we were also provided time to network and socialize with the Angelini professionals. They were very friendly and eager to speak with us.

After Angelini our group as off to Citta Nuova. They were an international religious printing business. We were shown examples of their work and we sat and listened to their members explain their business to us. All of this was done through our translator as some of the concepts were hard for the members to convey in English to us. Meeting with a religious printing company was especially exciting considering we were in Rome near the Pope!!

Examples of their work
One of the Global Lab Students with a fresh copy!


This is one of the professionals explaining the printing process to us as we watched it happen.

While in Ireland we were able to visit Mondelez International as well as Yahoo! Mondelez manufactures an ingredient in chewing gum and other similiar products. A large part of their business is exporting. Their members explained their business model to us then proceeded to give us a hands on tour of the factory and production process. We donned hairnets and dove right in!

O-H-I-O with our factory gear on!

We were also able to visit EMC while in Ireland. They manufacture electronic and computer devices. They also gave us a tour of the factory and a business presentation. Their speaker was especially interested in us! He asked us a lot of questions to gauge the opinion on topics of our generation. He was extremely intelligent. We were also able to visit Yahoo while in Ireland!

Beginning of our EMC tour
Meeting around the table with EMC



Exploring Rome!

We were given a walking tour of Rome by tour guide. This day provided some of the best pictures of our entire trip! One of the biggest stops being the Colloseum. Our tickets to get in were already paid for with the cost of the trip and our guide walked us through and provided us with the history. We stayed together as a group and after this was finished the tour was over. The students were then free to explore Rome as much as they wanted until our welcome dinner at 7:00. Students went their different ways. Some went shopping. Others got food. One student, Matt Shaver, bought a day pass for the train and got off at every single stop and explored!

O-H-I-O in front of the Colloseum!
And again
The whole group!

Another stop during the day was the Pantheon. It was unbelievable being inside of a building with so much history.

In front of the Pantheon
Night time on the river.
View from the top of Rome
Overlooking Capitol Hill



Impact of Going Abroad

Studying abroad with Fisher has been one of the highlights of my college experience. In our short time of 11 days we were able to see and experience so many things. I had previously studied abroad in high school with my senior Spanish class to Costa Rica to experience the culture and language. This immersion was entirely different. The business component is what made this trip. Being able to speak in my native language, English, to global business professionals is something that simply could not be done in a normal classroom at Ohio State.

This experience opened my eyes to just how connected the world is today. We were able to meet Ohio University band students and directors who were playing at the Vatican, an English teacher from my hometown of Dayton (Ohio), and plenty of Michigan and OSU fans. In a single restaurant in Italy we met people from Denmark, Romania, Italy, Finland, England, Spain, Brazil, Germany, and France. In one single restaurant. These were just people my own age that we spoke to. It was unbelievable.

Our classroom discussions were reinforced daily in real life discussions. While we were discussing the European Union with one of the representatives I remembered tidbits of information that Melissa had taught us in class. This was classroom learning implemented in the truest form. We were using knowledge learned from a book to speak with someone who actually worked in the EU! It was phenomenal. It made the learning experience so much more real and beneficial.

One interesting fact I remembered from the class is a woman that was mentioned who ran a business making gluten-free dough. Surprisingly, most of her business was overseas through exporting. Today’s world is so much more different than it was thirty years ago. It’s hard to believe a woman can make a living selling dough by shipping it all over the world as opposed to a conventional bakery.

After going abroad with Fisher I am much more interested in International Business. Although my major is Finance I definitely plan to look into career opportunities that may allow international travel opportunities. It would be amazing to find a job with a global corporation that would allow me to meet with colleagues in other countries.

The benefits of going abroad are not only academic and professional. Some of my best friends at Ohio State are Global Lab students that I never met before this trip. We bonded in the class time and overseas. Not only that, but the friendships we have made will surely be valuable someday. We are all Fisher Direct Honors students. When we returned in the fall and visited the involvement fair I saw more Global Lab students than any of my other friends. We were all there representing different organizations! Whether it was the running club, or a fraternity or sorority, or the Undergraduate Finance Association, so many of us were there. The students who went on this trip with me are some of the best, brightest, and most involved in Fisher. There is no doubt that we are all headed toward bright futures.


How Firm Thy Friendship O-H-I-O

Freshman Global Lab Day One Travel

We were finally leaving! Everything was packed, and we left for the airport around 8:00 am. Our first flight was from Columbus to Chicago. Due to the time zones we were leaving at 11:01 am and arriving at 11:16 am. Not everyone had chosen the faculty flight, but a majority of the students did and we were able to meet up while waiting for our plane. Once we arrived in Chicago we got food. I was wearing a drawstring bag with the OSU logo on it and got an OH-IO from a stranger within the first ten minutes. The first one of the trip!

The plane to Germany was huge! There were three rows of seating with two aisles in between. Our group was scattered throughout the plane. We had these awesome video players in the head rest of the seat in front of us. We were able to watch television shows, movies,  and documentaries. They had a great selection too. I counted at least 50+ comedy movies alone. These screens also provided information about the flight like the speed, ETA, and the current location.

I actually ended up sitting next to a Michigan fan on the plane! She commented when she saw my OSU bag. What are the odds? We were all tired but excited at the same time. We had a big day ahead of us! We still had a flight to Florence from Germany and then a train from Florence to Rome.

I had a window seat and was able to see a beautiful sunset. It was golden on the horizon against the silhouette of the plane wing. At that point it was 7:20 pm Chicago time and 2:20 am Germany time. When we flew over Manchester we saw the city lights and the highways. You could spot each town by the clusters of lights and see all of the roads connected them. It was like little lit up spider webs all over the landscape.

Excuse the dirty airplane windows!

While on the flight I woke up from a nap and looked out the window just in time to see the Swiss Alps! It was crazy. They stretched as far as the eye could see. I had no idea that we would be flying over them. We were close enough to see the ice caps and the green valleys.

Swiss Alps
Alps again

The flight finally arrived in Florence. We made it! We were in Italy! Mellisa, our faculty director helped group everyone together. The worst thing possible happened to me. My luggage was lost!! I was devastated. I could not believe that this happened the first day of the trip. Turns out it was just in a different part of the airport. Mellisa was able to speak with the airport workers and find it for me. It was hard because Italian was their first language. At this point it was Saturday May 11.

No sleep! After arriving at the Florence airport and everyone claimed their luggage we boarded our private coach and met our tour guide. We arrived in Florence at 11:00 am. Upon arrival we were given ear pieces in order to hear our guide speak to us as we were walking. Our walking tour began as soon as we got off the bus. The guide was very thorough and explained the history of the town of Florence along with the buildings and statues that we passed by.

This building is the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. Construction for it began in 1296and it was completed in 1436. The exterior of the basilica is faced with marble panels in shades of pink and green.

This is the roof of the dome of the Basilica.

I was surprised at how elegant so many of the doors and gates were in Italy.

This part is inside the Duomo. In the photo above you can see the designs on the wall. According to the tour guide people are actually buried in the walls behind the designs.

Our tour lasted until 1:00 pm. Then we were given three hours to explore the area. We split into groups and did some shopping. A lot of the girls bought leather goods. We were told they make excellent purses and belts and wallets. We were also free to grab some food. We stopped at a restaurant and had our first pizza in Italy! We also got some gelato.  We met up again at 4:00 to board the train to Rome.

The entire global lab!
Waiting for the train.

At this point we had all been up since 8:00 am the previous day. We had naps on the plane but no actual good rest. The train left at 5:04 pm and took an hour and a half. Nearly everyone fell asleep.

Jack and George couldn’t take any more and caught some shut eye on the train ride.

At 6:30 pm we arrived in our hotel and checked in. We settled down and unpacked everything and got dinner. I don’t have any pictures of dinner because my devices were dead from travelling and taking pictures all day. We were able to explore the area around our hotel a bit. We also found a great gelato place down the street!


This was the view from our hotel room!!! It was gorgeous. Some rooms had balconies. Others had multiple windows. We were on the highest floor with no balcony. Since we still didn’t have phone service we had to write down everyone’s room numbers to go visit them. We had a blast checking out how each room was different. Jack was my roommateand we got along well. Our room had a bathroom and two beds. The hotel workers were very courteous and friendly. We unpacked everything and laid out our clothes for the next day and went to bed! We were all exhausted.

Perfect view from the 10th floor!

Going Global with Fisher

Welcome to the Fisher Global Experiences blog. The Office of Global Business (OGB) is a resource to undergraduate and graduate students with the intention of enhancing the educational experience through international experience and exposure. In doing so, students will gain the knowledge and skills eagerly sought after by employers in today’s global marketplace. Students participating in OGB programs will write here about their experiences at Fisher and around the world.

Interested in one of Fisher’s global offerings?

One unique opportunity available to first year FisherDirect students is the Freshman Global Lab. This program enables students to study abroad during their first year at The Ohio State University by traveling to four compelling centers of commerce—the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany.

As Fisher students enter their second year, they gain the opportunity to attend short-term study programs that can also provide academic credit to their major. The Emerging Markets Field Study is one such opportunity that gives students the opportunity to enhance their knowledge of business opportunities in developing economies, and prepares them to conduct business in foreign markets.

The Green Business program is another short-term program that provides students the opportunity to examine the initiatives of organizations that have integrated sustainability-focused business practices into their operations. The course looks at the business scene from the perspective of indigenous entrepreneurs, multinational operations, and Costa Rica based companies.

Semester-long Student Exchange is undoubtedly the best immersion experience an undergraduate can have abroad at Ohio State. The Office of Global Business has established the partnership that allows students to learn at top global institutions without paying the extra tuition and earning transferable-credit for their major.

Students can gain global work experience and valuable cultural awareness during Fisher’s Global Summer Internship Programs located in countries that are strategic to international business.  Locations currently include Australia, England, France, Germany, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Singapore. The internships are eight weeks in length and are selected specifically chosen to compliment the strengths, abilities, and interests of the Fisher student-intern.

Students who still hope to gain global skills and competencies in a paid internship now have the opportunity to so right here in Ohio through the Export Internship Program (EIP).  EIP features a small, specialized export-focused course during the Spring Semester with a twelve week summer internship placement with a small to medium Ohio business looking to increase their exports.

Graduate students have the option of participating in the new Global Applied Projects Program (GAP). GAP students  gain international experience by working on a business challenge with one of Fisher’s corporate partners.  GAP combines a Spring Semester second session international strategy course and a May term global project with a major client designed to differentiate your work experience.