Hi, everyone! My name is Nick Kozsan ’21, and I am a rising junior at Clarkson University. I am an innovation & entrepreneurship major. Clarkson does a tremendous job encouraging their students to travel abroad and experience different cultures all over the world. As a business student here, we are required to take at least one trip to a foreign country to connect with others and learn about new cultures in different parts of the world.
Taking a trip abroad can open up doors with people you meet and companies that you go and visit. It allows you to ask any questions you have regarding their field and anything else that you would like to know. Through Clarkson, I have been on two global business trips that are faculty led. The course that is offered each spring is called UNIV399 Global Business Experience.
The trip that is included with this course occurs during spring break, which is about 10 days. I highly recommend this course for people who are required to study abroad but do not want to go somewhere for longer than 10 days. I also recommend it for those who want to get their feet wet before planning to study abroad for a whole semester or a full year.
My first trip was during my senior year of high school, when we went to Berlin, Germany, as well as Rome and Florence, Italy. I had the opportunity to do this before college because my mother teaches the course at Clarkson each year. It is amazing to experience different cultures and see what else is out there that you do not know about. Each year, the class goes overseas to experience life in a different country while visiting multiple businesses in the area.
Before we went on the trip, we had the opportunity to choose three types of businesses that we wanted to visit while we were there. During our visits to these companies, I thought it was interesting to see the differences in work environments in Europe compared with those in the United States and to hear about the differences between benefits and leave that workers from each country receive. One of the companies that we visited was MINI. We learned about how they produce automobiles and were able to see it in person. It was great to get a glance at how operations work in a production factory. Although the languages are different in Europe, some people do speak a bit of English, so it wasn’t too difficult to navigate around.
A group of us rented Segways to experience the whole city of Florence. We enjoyed a lengthy ride to the Piazzale Michelangelo, which features a statue of David on a giant hill and offers an amazing view of the city for local and tourists. Roaming around the city on a Segway probably wasn’t the safest bet, but it was definitely an experience that I’ll never forget.
My second trip was during my first year here at Clarkson University. In my spring semester, I took the global business class in order to go on the trip. This year we traveled to London, England, and Dublin, Ireland. One of the places we visited that stuck out in my mind was the Guinness Storehouse in Ireland. On that day, I learned what all the hype was about when people say how good Guinness beer is in Ireland. As you go through the tour at the Guinness Storehouse, you learn about each phase of the process that goes into making the legendary beer, and once you get to the end, you can pour your own “perfect glass” of Guinness.
I mentioned before that navigating your way through a foreign city isn’t that difficult, but I think now is a good time to tell you that I did get lost in Dublin. I am pretty good with directions, but sometimes these things happen. I’m fine though — I wouldn’t be writing this blog if I wasn’t! My advice is to always have your phone on you and have a sense of where you are going and/or have a map in your hand before going off on your own.
A 10-day trip may not seem like enough time to see the main attractions in the cities you go to, but I saw the majority of the popular sights in each city that I traveled to. A couple of examples include the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps in Rome; Florence Cathedral in Florence; and the Temple Bar, Buckingham Palace and the London Eye in London. These are just a few of the places that I went to in the short period of time I was there. It was an amazing experience to visit the companies in these cities and visit famous attractions as well.
I will be continuing to follow my passion for traveling this fall as I am studying abroad in Melbourne, Australia, at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University. Clarkson has multiple partnerships with colleges and universities all over the world, which allows you to choose where you would like to go from more than a handful of destinations.
I chose to study abroad at RMIT because Australia looks like a beautiful country, and I have heard nothing but great things from people who have traveled there. I also prefer to go to a country that mainly speaks English, so it will be easier for me to meet people and make my way around the city. I have talked to many people about studying abroad, asking them questions and getting suggestions before I head out on my own in a different country.