Beyond the Classroom: Business and Economics
College should be a time of exploration, discovery and personal growth. About a dozen business management and hospitality tourism management students learned this lesson well during an unforgettable trip in summer 2004.
These students visited several locations in Italy as part of Professor Norm McElvany's International Travel and Tourism course, which balanced relevant readings with rich activities weaving together business, hospitality, politics, history and social culture.
The centerpiece of the 14-day trip was a stay at the Maiano Villa, a country estate that overlooks Florence and dates back to 1400. Among the countless highlights was a private tour from Countess Lucrezia Corsini Miari Fulcis, a descendent of the famed Corsini dynasty of Florence.
The Countess led students through the family palace, which features one of Italy's largest private art collections along with archival documents over 1,000 years old. Students also toured the villa's 18,000-tree olive oil farm and one of the vineyards. During forays into Florence, they immersed themselves in the art of Michelangelo and the wonderful tastes and aromas of the local cuisine.
Participants on the trip bonded with their classmates and took home vibrant memories they will never forget. For many, it was their first journey outside of New England.
"I'm a firm believer that the best way to learn about the world is to travel the world," says Professor McElvany. "I get joy from seeing the expression on students' faces and remembering what it was like for me the first time I visited somewhere."
Through their travels, students were able to compare and contrast hospitality approaches in Italy with those in the United States. And through encounters with Italians and other fellow tourists, they gained valuable exposure to people of other cultures.
"This is the type of experience that makes our students more marketable," explains Professor McElvany. "It looks great on a resume because people with international experience have seen cultural differences and have been exposed to new things. When combined with our extensive 12-week internships, our graduates leave JSC well-prepared for their careers."