Undergraduate Programs

A Journey of Discovery: My Global Experience Trip with The Clarkson School

Hi, my name is Carly LaBow ’25 and I am from LaFargeville, New York. I am a current Business Administration major with a double minor in Human Resource Management and Communications. I attended The Clarkson School (TCS) last year as the Class of 2023. 

Around this time last year, I found myself learning the basics to three new languages while packing my suitcase. Through a generous opportunity sponsored by The Clarkson School I embarked on a journey to Spain, France, and Italy. Beyond a mere vacation, this global experience became a pivotal moment not only in my educational journey but personal growth as well.

At The Clarkson School, the commitment to academic excellence extends far beyond the classroom. Through the amazing administration who make up The Clarkson School, an annual trip to a country, voted on by the students, is offered. Selective students who have an itch to travel like myself jumped on this opportunity to visit a new country. A class before the embarkment of the trip takes place to inform us about the culture. The sponsored trip to Europe exemplifies the program and the University’s dedication to providing students with transformative experiences that transcend traditional education practices. 

Carly and two other women standing arm in arm against a backdrop of colorful old buildings along a canal

Spain

Our adventure kicked off in the dynamic streets of Barcelona, Spain. With every step, layers of history unfolded in front of my eyes. Taking a stroll wasn’t just your everyday casual walk around Potsdam. Stumbling upon historical sites, beautiful buildings, and bustling markets wasn’t uncommon here. 

The awe-inspiring Sagrada Familia left my jaw on the floor. Each section of the church was carefully designed and incorporated stunning stained glass. Our guide informed us about the history and longevity of the construction and truly highlighted its uniqueness. 

Moving to the whimsical Park Guell where each site narrated eccentric characteristics and creativity was absolutely gorgeous. That night I undoubtedly experienced the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bike the streets of Barcelona. Biking into the sunset along the port, and casually discovering a pirate ship is something I will never forget. Feeling the sand between my toes, and finding colorful sea glass, all while in front of the famous giant goldfish truly was surreal. 

The highlight of this location was taking a gondola beyond the city’s horizon, leaving a spectacular view of the Mediterranean Sea. Engaging with the local way of life, and tasting authentic cuisines, truly exposed me to a different cultural perspective. 

France

Carly standing facing the camera with a palace behind her.

Next on our itinerary was Nice, France, where we also ventured into the prestigious principality of Monaco. Nice, nestled into the French Riviera welcomed us with its azure sea, local shops, and crepes! 

Venturing along the beaches, sipping on cocktails, and enjoying the leisurely life was more than a culinary adventure; it was an invitation to savor life, and a lesson on slowing down to appreciate the simple pleasures that define the Mediterranean spirit.  

Monaco, a jewel nestled alongside France, happened to be my favorite location while on this global adventure. The tiny principality dazzled with luxurious grandeur, upscale boutiques, and the world-famous Monte Carlo casino. 

As we navigated the intricate streets, every corner whispered tales of wealth and the lifestyle screamed luxury. Standing on the Formula 1 circuit track, walking along the port full of yachts, and overlooking the sea, stories of elegance unfolded. Visiting the second smallest, yet wealthiest country in the world provided me with a glimpse into the regal history of this magnificent principality. 

Carly standing leaning against a railing with a backdrop that overlooks the ocean and a village

Our global experience trip reached new heights as we ventured into the enchanting town of Grasse, France, renowned as the perfume capital of the world. The visit to the Fragonard Perfume Factory became a sensorial journey offering insights into the old traditions that go into creating the more exquisite fragrances. 

Knowledgeable guides led us through the delicate perfume-making process. Engaging in a hands-on smelling table allowed us to turn into amateur perfumers for the day. Leaving the factory, we not only carried the scents of our new items but also a deeper appreciation for the heritage that goes into crafting the perfect fragrance. 

Italy

The last country on our itinerary led us to the captivating landscapes of the Cinque Terre leading into Italy. As we ventured into the five unique picturesque villages, time seemed to stop as we perched precariously on the rocks in the middle of the sea. Pictures quite literally could not serve this view justice when showing family and friends. 

Our journey then took us into the streets of Florence, where the cobbled streets are infused with creativity and cultural treasures. Visiting the Statue of David, Lindt Chocolate Factory, and Ponte Vecchio stood as testaments to the city’s commitment to artistic excellence. However, as we reveled in the breathtaking landscapes, our journey took an unexpected turn, introducing an unforeseen twist that added a dose of reality and unforgettable moment to our trip. 

While dining at a local restaurant, I unknowingly consumed a peanut-infused dish. Within minutes of savoring the dish, it became evident that I was having an allergic reaction. As the situation escalated, my travel companions quickly sprung into action and sought assistance from locals to receive information regarding emergency services. It was quite the experience to be treated in an international hospital and thankfully everything was fine. But I truly experienced every aspect of Italian culture! 

Carly sticking her tongue out to act as if she is licking the leaning tower of pisa with an ice cream cone at the edge of the image to have the tower as if its an ice cream

As we continued our exploration around the country of Italy, we traveled to the city of Pisa. As you can imagine, the group took cheesy pictures around the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Viewing the well-known structure in person was completely different than any images I had seen previously. The angle is much greater than I could have anticipated, and left me wondering how it was still standing. Leaving Italy I felt captivated by a timeless beauty. 

As I reflect on my global experience trip with The Clarkson School, I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity to explore the world beyond textbooks. The mouthwatering flavors of many gelato trips made me never want to leave. Aside from the exquisite cuisine, this journey not only enriched my academic understanding, and life-long friendships but cultivated my global perspective that will undoubtedly shape my future endeavors. It fueled my jet-setting attitude to explore as much as the world I can, and left me eager to continue this journey of discovery as I navigate the exciting path ahead. 

1 Comment

  1. I love how you captured the purpose of the UNIV399 class and the trip! As the instructor, it is important to me that the students discover their chance to learn and grow through a once in a lifetime experience. It can help you develop new skills, make valuable connections, and gain a better understanding of international business, Europe’s rich history and the various cultures. Additionally, the experiences you gain abroad will make you stand out from other candidates and can be an asset in your future job search. Thank you for making this trip memorable!

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