Pre-Departure Thoughts

Hi everyone! My name is Sami Blum, and I am an accounting/marketing major with a minor in economics on my way to stay it Italy.  I am from Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania and cannot wait to share my journey to Italy with everyone! Our travel abroad group met in Benedum Hall Sunday night for our first pre-departure meeting. We were informed by our teachers on what to bring, in particular, what not to bring. The teachers advised us to pack lightly to make traveling easier. Everyone in the class shared their “All About Me Presentations” and it was interesting to see their personal lives! We were divided up into our groups and constructed a group charter. After our group charter, we dived right into the Supply Chain textbook to learn about supply chains. I love economics, so studying supply chains was very interesting for me. The first meeting left me feeling very excited for Italy, yet very overwhelmed at the same time. I knew that there was a lot more I needed to learn in order to have a successful trip.

For our second class meeting, we started by going over some of the expectations for the course; it was helpful to know our expectations going forward. After that, we moved on to presenting our group projects. It was fascinating to learn about some of the different supply chains involved in fashion! I loved seeing how some well-known designers brought their products together. After that, we had a discussion about the differences between how our grandparents shopped and how we shopped. There were lots of differences regarding how often and where they bought their clothes. My dad certainly had different shopping habits then I have. We finished up the class by learning a bit more about supply chains from the textbook.

Our class again met in Benedum for our third class. The class started off with our presentations of Italian culture. This group project was my favorite to work on and listen to; it was interesting to examine the cultural aspects of Italy. For example, I now know that bureaucracy in Italy is worse than bureaucracy in America. We then learned about some more aspects of supply chain management. After that, we had a couple of pre-trip updates regarding logistics. Overall, my nerves for Italy are being replaced by excitement.

We finally made it to our last pre-departure meeting! We started the class off with presentations regarding our site visits. This presentation was more interactive because we were asked to write questions for the other groups. It was great being able to research companies that we would actually be visiting soon. We then had discussions regarding our two previous, individual activities. The discussions were interesting, and after the discussions we had more information about Italy shared with us and some last minute homework to complete before departure. Thanks to the four pre-departure meetings I feel more prepared than ever to go to Italy. I have never been to Europe before, so starting this journey will be the trip of a lifetime for me. I am also excited to expand my knowledge of supply chains while abroad and apply that knowledge to my future education at University of Pittsburgh.


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