Monthly Archives: June 2013

Summer Study Abroad Series: A Tour of Rome

Blog by: Derrick Bennett

Today was an interesting day which involved both the exploration of some of the most popular tourist attractions and a city filled with a distinct business districts. Similar to other major tourist places in Italy, Rome offers a broad range of activities and business districts. From the ancient ruins of Rome, to the Vatican, and shopping, Rome offers tourists an action packed visit. Although we are only in Rome for about two days, the city has enough to offer to last a week.

The ancient remains Rome are breathtaking. The saying, ‘pictures fail to provide justice to reality,’ is significantly validated in Rome. The Colleseum, which surprisingly was not originally named the Colleseum, displayed the various forms of entertainment, architecture, and hierarchical status in the early Roman society. The formation and division of the Colleseum is even evident in today’s societal structure. Wealthy individuals generally sat closer to the entertainment while lower income individuals generally sat farther away. For students with an interest in Greek mythology, this is also a great place to study. Students can spend an entire semester in Rome learning mythological stories. As expected, I also noticed a difference between the food, particularly the pizza. The northern and southern parts of Italy are generally different in many social aspects. In my opinion, the pizza was tastier in the northern part of Italy. I also had the pleasure of trying an Italian lobster dish. Let’s just say it was amazing.

The complexity of the Roman business district warrants extensive research.  The large amount of wealth and power within the Vatican tremendously affects the business districts. Ancient Roman remains attract tourists, but the religious sector has a vast influence on tourists as well. The districts are characterized by mini street shops and local artists. Although the shops are somewhat attractive to tourist, the similarity in goods and services creates a market that is closely classified as perfectly competitive. Producers have very little control over the price of goods.

One final aspect which I would like to mention is the importance of history. Seeing the ruins of Ancient Rome created a sense of gratefulness for both the current history and the history currently being created. Aspects of Ancient Rome which were destroyed during wars and other catastrophic events will cause one to realize the importance of preserving history. The history of every country affects the entire global community in some fashion. We should all work to not only learn, but understand and preserve history.

Summer Study Abroad Series: Tourism Fueling Rome’s Economy

Blog by: Dana Gray

Dana Gray

Two weeks have flown by and it’s really sad that today was our last day together. It has been an amazing experience and the memories and friendships that I have developed over this short time are something that I will always treasure. There was no better way to finish off our two week Italian adventure than having a free day to explore Rome, one of the worlds most popular tourist destinations and the third most visited city in the EU.  Today we played the typical tourist role, visiting two of Rome’s most famous sights, the Colosseum and the Vatican. Tourism is such an important part of Rome’s economy, and today we were part of the 7-10 million annual tourists that fuel this city’s economy.

We arrived at the Colosseum at 8am, early enough to beat the crowds and the heat. Originally built as a place for free entertainment, the Colosseum now brings in a significant amount of money for Rome’s tourism industry with an annual visitor count of 4 million. It was quickly evident to me why so many tourists come to see this ancient structure. Walking around its terraces was like a walk through time, where we stood today was the same place where battles were fought between gladiators. As we left the Colosseum the crowds were just starting to grow, and we were pleased that we had made such an early start that morning. Our next stop was the Papal City State, the Vatican.


With the impression that the subway system was down due to a strike, we made the long walk from the Colosseum to the Vatican. By now it was midday and the crowds were pouring in to see the treasures, relics and buildings of the Vatican. We had been advised to make reservations ahead of time and it was a nice feeling walking right past hundreds of people to make our way into the Vatican’s collection of museums. However, when we entered we joined the hundreds ahead of us that were already walking the hallways of these impressive museums, making for a very hot and confined experience. The museum was like a maze of painted rooms filled with marble sculptors and old relics, and I was taken aback by the magnitude of it all. The highlight of the visit was the chance to go into the Sistine chapel where we were able view Michael Angelo’s famous work spread across the ceiling. The crowds became a little too much for some of us in the group so we shortened our visit and took in some fresh air outside. When we left the Vatican Museum, large numbers of people were still coming in, and once again it made me realize the amount of money that Rome, and in this case Vatican City makes from tourism. With such large crowds it made it very easy to understand how the museums play host to 4.2 million visitors annually.

Our day was finished off with an amazing meal put on by our host university at a lovely restaurant in downtown Rome. With three courses and lots of wine to accompany the food everyone left with high spirits, although a sense of sadness could be felt amongst the group, as this was the last night that we would spend with each other. Exploring Rome’s treasures and enjoying a typical roman meal was a great way to finish off an amazing two weeks in Rome. I wished everyone a safe flight back home and cannot wait to meet again with everyone in Pirate Nation.


Summer Study Abroad Series: “The Best is Higher”

Blog by: Emily Kinnear

Major at ECU:Masters of Business Administration

Today we went to visit the Republic of San Marino, a tiny country located within Italy’s east coast on top of Mount Titano.  The Republic of San Marino claims to be the oldest existing sovereign state and constitutional republic.  The size of the country itself is miniscule, measuring only twenty-four square miles with a population of 30,000 people.  When we first arrived at San Marino we thought the entire country spanned one main road that only took about twenty minutes to completely walk the full length of the road.  However, once we began walking with the tour guide, we all realized that a majority of the town had been above our heads the whole time.  After walking through the Porto San Francesco you will find the rest of the Republic that can only be reached by walking up winding cobblestone streets.

Republic of San Marino

The further up you go the more pleasant surprises reveal themselves; from quaint boutiques to a gorgeous panoramic view of the ocean, Rimini, and other Italian towns.  At the very top of the mountain are three castles, also called towers, from the medieval time period.  I couldn’t help but think about what great shape the citizens must be from having to climb up steep hills everyday just to run errands.  The tour guide kept reminding us as we struggled up the steep hills, “The best is higher”.

San Marino’s prime location at 6000 meters above sea level is the reason they were able to become a separate republic from the country of Italy.  Not only are they extremely high up but also they are almost completely surrounded by tall stonewalls.  The Porto San Francesco is the only entryway and exit to the Republic and was often heavily guarded.  When they were first founded it was almost impossible for any intruders to takeover or penetrate the walls.  Military officials were able to spot potential invaders from miles away and prepare for battle with more than enough time to spare.  Although it would seem that being completely isolated from all of Italy would hinder rather than help San Marino, they managed to be fully functional.  San Marino has its own government, police force, and military, as well as most of the supplies and materials they may need.  Thanks to all of the technological advances today, they are able to import any supplies they are unable to get on their own.

San Marino Shopping

Due to their higher location and almost complete isolation, the Republic of San Marino has been forced to remain almost completely self-sufficient in government ordeals and business matters. San Marino has a number of bars, restaurants, shops, and other necessities that any country would need to survive.  Unlike many other small towns, San Marino has a large amount of clothing stores with a wide variety of different merchandise.  As a fashion merchandise major in my undergrad studies, I found this extremely interesting. Many small towns often lack a substantial supply of modern fashion products such as clothing, shoes, and purses.  Because of San Marino’s location, it is very difficult for citizens to access fashion and receive packages through the mail if they were to order things online.  The constant demand for clothing and large supply of customers helps maintain a healthy business environment for small businesses, especially clothing and accessory stores.  After witnessing the clothing store and fashion merchandise environment of San Marino, I cannot wait to experience the fashion environment in other parts of Italy!

Summer Study Abroad Series: Experiencing Rome

Blog by: Jakub Trzasalski Jakub T 2

After a great night in Rimini, we all staggered out of bed early in the morning and left for the last stop of our visit. We’re finishing the trip at the place I had always wanted to go to – Rome. I have been extremely interested in ancient history since the first day I took ancient history class in middle school, so seeing Rome first hand is a life-changing experience. We all have heard that Rome is full of history, but what I have seen so far has exceeded my expectations in so many ways. When we arrived at the Piazza Venezia, the central hub of the city, even the dreadful four-hour bus ride did not stop all the excitement and happiness in each and every single one of us. The beauty of the Altare della Patria, a massive monument built in honor of the first king of a unified Italy, simply took my breath away. And it was only the beginning!Jakub T

Our tour guide, Chiara, met us in front of the Colloseum. This massive yet stunning building had the capacity of seating around 50,000 spectators. The games played in the Roman Coliseum, which remained in use for over 500 years, are believed to have taken the lives of about half a million people and over a million wild animals. Completely amazed by all the stories told by Chiara, we were walking by the ruins of Ancient Rome towards the other top attractions of the city.

Rome has many beautiful fountains, but without a doubt the Trevi Fountain is the most famous and photographed one in the city. The legend has it that this majestic fountain can decide whether you will or will not come back to Rome in the future. Needless to say, we all threw a coin in the fountain hoping to return to this magnificent place. None of us are sure whether the story is true or not, but why would anyone risk it?

I came to the realization that Italians don’t seem to find any laws or rules agreeable with their constitution. However, what happens on the streets of Rome is beyond crazy. Red lights are more of a suggestion than a rule. Moped drivers believe crosswalks and sidewalks are just as well suited for them as they are for pedestrians. There are no visible lanes on the streets. And finally, no matter how good of a driver you think you are, whatever you do on the streets of Rome will result in ten other drivers honking at you. Doesn’t it all sound extremely safe?

Overall, I could not ask for a better way to end our trip. Our stay in Rome has already been quite eventful, and we still have one more day to explore the magic of this beautiful city.


Using Social Media for Research

Author bio: Alex Petryck is an average college student who loves to educate and bring something new and interesting to the society. He works as a freelance writer and helps other students with their research papers. You can contact him via twitter @AlexPetryck

How to Use Social Media for Research Projects

Social media use is widely used in society today. It’s an aspect of life, social, education, working and family life. There are over a billion active Facebook users in the world. Another 500 million are active on Twitter, while over 72 billion videos are uploaded on YouTube each minute.  There are also millions of Wikis around the world.

The question that begs an answer is, “Are you using social media to research projects apart from communicating and interacting with your fans and friends?” Truth is, this is possible especially when it comes to discovering information, collaborating with others around given topics, getting peer reviews from interested parties, and sharing such research materials or findings with others. Here is the blueprint for this.

Discovering Resources

Use social Bookmarking sites- Depending with your research the following social tools can help. Pinterest is great for searching pinned images, videos, and other online resources. Delicious helps one find topics, and Scoop creates a topic-centric media collecting the jewels among the relevant streams of information.

Use Social Citation Tools. Use Mendeley on academic research search and import papers that are related to your project, connect and join forces with other fellow researchers, or generate bibliographies. Personal assistant Zotero  gathers all your sources in a single searchable interface for you to grab your research in just a few clicks. CiteULike finds and manages scholarly references.

Get on Twitter. Twitter is the largest social media research source with over 400 million tweets and 1.6 billion queries posted every day. You can use it to follow industry experts, search trends or activities, and events using #hashtags. Twitter also shares knowledge, ideas and links that enable others contribute with questions, reflections and discussions and build groups, courses and collaborating communities around your projects.

Use Facebook groups and pages. Facebook groups are important for closed projects, courses, and exchanging ideas.

Use LinkedIn Groups. LinkedIn groups are organized around research projects on the topic and industry you write about. Make one to speak directly to people who are experts in the field, read, and discuss their opinion on the matter.

Collaborating and Creating

An open scholar makes his work digitally accessible and welcomes critics. They allow secondary use of parts, or the whole piece, at any stage of its development.

Use a Wiki-One can add new or edit the existing content. Use Wetpaint, Wikispaces, PBWiki, Google Drive, or Google Sites, who promote participation, information sharing, crowdsourcing, collaboration, engagement and creation.

Use Blogs-Some of the most popular blogging tools include WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, etc.


Peer reviews help get feedback on your research projects from peers and true professionals in your particular field. Here are few great social tools to use:

  • ResearchGate – it’s built for scientists by scientists with an idea that science can advance if it is driven by mutual collaboration.
  • Method Space – a social network for students, professors and research experts who work with such methods.
  • Nature Network – a professional networking website where scientists from all over the world who gather, share and discuss ideas and stay in close contact.
  • – a platform where academics share their research papers to help accelerate the research processes in the world.


Social media tools can share your research projects. You can try to communicate your findings using your own voice because it will be better understood by the general public, the politics, and possibly better implemented in our real lives. Share your researches using videos or other multimedia. Use SlideShare for PowerPoint presentations, PDF portfolios and Word documents, organize and share your ideas using the Prezi presentation tool, or publish your whole research as an e-book using Docstoc, Scribd, Yudu, Simple Booklet, Youblisher, etc.

Summer Study Abroad Series: Golden Rules

Blog by: Christopher Dequaine Christopher Dequaine 2

Today marks the fifth day of our stay in Italy and once again it did not disappoint.  With every day that passes, the more I wish I never had to leave this beautiful place.  Unfortunately, we are almost halfway done with our adventure!  Today, we covered two important items on the agenda.  The first order of business was a lecture regarding Intercultural Management.  The objective of this lecture was to better enhance our understanding of the Italian cultural values and their consequences on behaviors and relationships.  One of the key elements that we focused on was Geert Hofstede’s Five Dimensions Model and how Italy’s rank amongst each category compared to that of the U.S.  I had already researched this topic for a project beforehand so I had a general understanding of where both countries stood.  One thing that our instructor pointed out that I was unaware of prior to the lecture were some of the differences that exist between Northern and Southern Italy.  For example, those who reside in Northern Italy tend to be more individualistic, as opposed to those in the South who appear to be more of a collectivist nature.  To me, this was quite interesting because this attribute is nearly the same between the Northern and Southern states in America.  While discussing Hofstede’s Five Dimensions took up a fair amount of time, the portion of the lecture that had the greatest impact on me at the end in which she spoke of “The Golden Rules” of Intercultural Management.  These “Golden Rules” stress the importance of viewing the world with an open mind and to not let the ignorance of a few hinder your perception of other cultures.  It is important to understand the rationale behind behavior in other cultures and to show them the utmost respect.  Based on personal experience, this is one aspect of life that everyone could improve upon.

Following a short break after the lecture, we visited one of the most astounding businesses I have ever had the pleasure of seeing; the Bisazza.  The Bisazza is a well-renowned company who designs and produces luxury glass mosaic for both interior and exterior decoration.  Aside from all of the amazing works of art, Bisazza’s brand values and strategies caught my attention.  Their Christopher Dequainebrand values include modern, design, and timeless.  They believe it is extremely important to create products that are superior in design to other alternatives and ones that never lose their value.  Bisazza’s brand strategies are contributions, collections, and distributions.  These three strategies have helped lead Bisazza to the top of their industry where they plan on remaining for many years to come.  Some questions that I found myself asking were how exactly does this business work?  Where do they make their profit?  I came to find out that Bisazza actually works with their own designers and architects to construct the product that is requested by the customer.  The majority of their profit comes from projects conducted overseas, most of which occurs in the U.S.  Taking into account both the lecture and the plant tour of Bisazza, I would say that it was yet again another successful day.  I wish this trip were not going by as fast as it is, but I am looking forward to the remaining time I have left.  So far, I could not have asked for a better experience.

Study Abroad Series: The City of Love

Blog by: Nathaniel Terry

Today, Sunday June the 9th, we have found ourselves wandering around the city of Verona. As you may already know, Verona is also referred to as the city of love (mainly due to the dramatic tale of Romeo and Juliet). When people think of the word love, it is usually associated with romance and passion but in this instance, that is not the case. Merriam- Webster defines love as a “strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties,” which can be used to describe the over night relationships of the College of Business Study Abroad: Italy. Reflecting on Verona has allowed me to see that within a week’s time we have transitioned from strangers into friends.

At the beginning of this trip, there were a total of 28 professors and students, few who knew each other beforehand and many who had never met. As a whole, no one knew what to expect while simultaneously making assumptions in anticipation of what to come. Initially, people gravitated toward individuals that they shared things in common with, which is natural, being one of the basic characteristics of human psychology. Currently, exactly a week into the trip things are much different. Although many people have their differences, the energy of the group is filled with joy and laughter rather than anger and dissention. We find ourselves together, wondering around Verona, looking at the architecture, shopping for family and personal, breaking bread and drinking wine. Aimlessly, we peruse through the city of little Rome (Verona), taking in the breathtaking views and immersing ourselves in things unknown to us. Also throughout the day, we all are looking out for one another in this foreign land making sure there is “no man left behind.” Though our relationships began quite recently, they have evolved and matured quickly with great care, compassion, and respect for one another.

In the end, we conquered Verona as we had done with all the cities that we had encountered together before (Belluno, Venice, Florence, ect). All the while we were making memories that we will remember forever, whether it is in thought or captured in a picture. All in all, I believe that if you were to ask everyone on this adventure they would say, “we couldn’t have had a better group of students.” Hopefully, when we travel back home and get back into our normal routines, we will look to continue these friendships long into the future, friendships that were kindled in the city of love, the city of Verona.

Summer Study Abroad Series: Leisure and Life

Blog by: Alyssa ConlonAlyssa Conlon

Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy with 369.98 square kilometers. It lies between Verona, Brescia and Trento.  Due to Lake Garda’s strategic position during World War One, the lake has become very popular ever since.  It is one of the most popular beaches in Italy. The beaches are mainly rocks instead of sandy beaches like we are used to back in the states. The lake had many beautiful sights and a long list of things to do such as visiting the castle, boat tours, various amusement parks, sporting activities and the beach.  It seemed to be that boat tours were the most Alyssa Conlon 2popular activity in the area we visited, so a group of us decided to rent a boat to see all of the beautiful sights and enjoy the nice weather.  We had an amazing view of the castle and also passed the grotto.  It was a beautiful, warm day to relax out on the lake.  We spent most of the day taking in the amazing sights of mountains and other breath taking scenery.  In Italy there are so many pretty sights and everything is very old but still so beautiful.  The artwork is phenomenal and you can tell that they put so much time into it.


There were so many boats out on the lake as well and not just the tour boats for the tourists. Italians seem to enjoy their leisure time much more than Americans; this was especially apparent at Lake Garda today.  Instead of focusing solely on the future outcomes of situations, Italians take time to enjoy the present moment and do not take it for granted.  They enjoy a slower paced life than we are used to back home. Life is so fast-paced in the United States that I think a lot of us do not take the time to enjoy the small every Alyssa Conlon 3day things in life.  In America, people are very business oriented and have a very entrepreneurial mindset and always thinking ahead where as Italians have smaller businesses and are very family oriented. In America businesses are much larger and Italian businesses are much smaller and stay within the family for many years. Both of these perceptions of life have both good and bad aspects to them depending on how one looks at the situation.  In general, the cost of living is higher here in Italy than in the United Sates.  Businesses in Italy are willing to pay higher wages to keep employees and this makes up for the higher cost of living here.  In America, the cost of living is much cheaper, but the people are not paid as much as the employees in Italy.  I’ve loved everything about Italy and am so lucky to be here.  I think this experience has taught me to enjoy the moment and not be too preoccupied about future events.  Visiting Italy has been an amazing adventure and I cannot wait for the next three days!

Summer Study Abroad Series: Search for the Caves

Blog by: Breanna Edmunds

Date of blog: June 11th, 2013Breanna Edmunds

The day started off on a bus ride to Lago di Garda. After a relaxing hour and a half, we reached the lake. A group of 18 of us took a boat tour along the beautiful lake. We were informed that the boat tour included taking us to the famous caves of Lake Garda. The water was blue as ever as we rode along the waves, and we were surrounded by the mountains all around us. The boat continued along the lake as we passed a beautiful building that looked like a castle when in fact it was just a home. People live there all year round and even allow tours through their home for 30 euros. This seemed odd to me considering this was their personal home but I guess so many people are willing to pay to see their home.


After we passed the home we started heading back to the dock. Once we arrived at the dock a group of us walked along the beach side on a search caves that we heard about. The water was beautiful and there were many ducks and swans having a leisurely swim on the beautiful day. We sBreanna Edmunds 2topped by a thermal which was along the walkway. A thermal is a specialty to Lake Garda in which it is a warm spot in the cold lake water. Many people go to these spots because this particular water is good for wellness. Lake Garda residents have made huge wellness center spa businesses out of these thermal spots throughout the city. The thermal was like a hot tub in the water. It was surrounded by rocks with a comfy place to sit in the middle. I proceeded to go into the water when I realized the water was close to boiling temperature. I was able to walk on the other side of the rocks being that it was not too hot and not too cold. It was an awesome experience and I wish I had my suit on so I could have laid in it.


After leaving the thermal spot the group I was with had found a botanical garden that we walked through trying to reach the caves. It was so green & fresh and many of the locals were laying in the Breanna Edmunds 3grass to tan on this hot day. We climbed this steep hill and got to the other side of the garden where we found a trail that would lead us to the caves. We walked down the trails for a little ways and came across a park. The park contained a museum, ruins, and what we had thought would be caves. The museum consisted of old artifacts from the Roman times. There were statue parts, utensils, plates, old architecture and more. I love historical things so I was starting to find this place rather exciting. As you walk out of the museum you see the ruins. The ruins were an old villa that appeared to be a vacation villa for the Romans during B.C. times. There were several rooms, hallways, and windows that overlooked the beautiful lake. This is the kind of vacation spot I would have liked to own.


We walked along the ocean view and ended up back at the entrance. At this point everyone was hungry so we decided to eat at a pizzeria. We left the restaurant and realized at this point we are probably never going to find these caves. It was disappointing but along the journey I had seen so many amazing things that I couldn’t even be upset. Now I know I’ll need to ask where the caves are on my next visit because hopefully one day I will make it back to Lago di Garda.


Summer Study Abroad Series: Poli Distillerie

Blog by: X’auntasia Johnson

Major at ECU:Business Administration/MIS

Year at ECU:  First Year MBAX'auntasia Johnson

Happy Monday!! I had a somewhat restful weekend in Verona, but today it is back to business. Today’s lecture was a continuation on Business Strategies with Professor Diego Campagnolo (who I’ll refer to simply as Diego from this point on) from University of Padova in Italy. The lecture started with a better look into defining business strategy, competitive advantage and how those concepts are applied in countries both within and outside the European Zone. Diego went through the research findings from the collective project between GE Capital, University of Padova, University of Ohio and other sponsoring parties on the Middle Market companies and their success in driving the European economy.

The study defined middle sized companies in Italy as those bringing in 5 to 250 million euro of revenue. In Italy alone, the midsized companies represent only 2% of all firms. These Italian firms are responsible for over 40% of the Italian GDP. In regard to the European Union Big 4 (EU-4) Italy’s middle sized companies were responsible for more of the national GDP than German (31%), British (32%) and French (29%) middle sized companies were of their respective country’s GDP.

Seeing that most of Italy’s GDP comes from mid-sized corporations helped explain why the luxury brands and products of high quality are so important in Italy’s economy. Luxury products made in Italy lie largely within the food, fashion, furniture and Ferrari mechanics industries. Over half of Italy’s luxury products are sold outside of the country so many mid size companies are on the forefront of Italy’s global market.X'auntasia Johnson 2

Buying Prada or Giorgio Armani from Italy is a status symbol all around the world. The perception of great value that comes with owning these types of products places you in an exclusive group. It shows good taste and an appreciation for the minds and hands of the creator. Similarly, the Ferrari brand of mechanics speaks to the tastes of the product owner.

After our lecture session we visited the Poli Distillerie and were lead on a tour of the plant. This company is in the food and entertainment industry at the mid-sized company level. One of the interesting topics of discussion while there was that Grapa is only a seasonal product for the company yet they are open all year round. The question was then asked how are you able to support having 23 people on staff when production is over. They told us that the business process takes a great deal of effort and attention. They produce Grapa, Whiskey, Brandy and other types of liquor in the plant; not just Grapa. They are able to sustain and increase the number of jobs during the harvest time and continue bringing in more income with a communication based marketing strategy. This plant visit was the last we’ll have while here in Italy and this was a great way to wrap up our business and to come full circle in what we’ve learned about Italian business.

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