In all of my eighteen years on this planet, I’ve never been outside the borders of the United States. It’s not because I didn’t want to; I’ve just never been given the chance to do so…until I heard about Plus 3. My name is Livia Molinaro and I’m a PittBusiness student studying finance and film. As excited as I’ve been to jump out of the United States, I’ve had a lot to learn and prepare for my first international escapade.
The Plus 3 pre-departure meetings were my basis of preparation for the Plus 3 Italy trip. They helped me prepare for the trip in several ways. The first thing I realized that the meetings provided that would be useful was the presence of the other Plus 3 Italy travel goers. It was great to familiarize myself with the people I was going to be traveling across the world with for two weeks. I’ve already made some new friends. Other things I found helpful in international travel preparation from the pre-departure meetings were the general traveling logistics we went over. A lot of the things we went over (like the schedule/itinerary, exchange rate, etc.) were things that helped me get a feel of how this trip was going to look like. I appreciate how Dr. Patzer and Dr. Duquin reminded us several times about important tasks to take care of before we leave like to tell your bank you will be out of the country for two weeks and check with your phone carrier to see the best international plan options for the trip or what specific app to get to make calls and texts. I also am glad that Dr. Patzer and Dr. Duquin told me to make sure I have a safe place to keep my phone and money, because the last thing I want during my trip is to lose my means of buying things and communicating with others! Those are things that I wouldn’t have thought of before the trip that are essential to a good and safe trip experience. Beyond some of the logistical traveling tips, the pre-departure meetings also provided me with some valuable information more specifically related to the Italian supply chain management aspect of our trip.
I’m not a supply chain management major, so I really am not very knowledgeable of the field. However, the trip revolves around the supply chain management of fashion and textiles in Italy, so it only seems necessary that we know something about SCM before the departure from the States. The pre-departure meetings helped us build a foundation of knowledge for the world of supply chain management by having us complete readings, presentations, and activities to better understand what SCM is and how it applies to the fashion and textile companies we will be visiting in Italy. While completing a group project on how wool is made, I never would have guessed the several supply chain elements one piece of fabric would have to travel through to eventually be transformed into a sweater. My awareness of the steps a company takes to get a raw material to eventually run past the cash register has greatly increased, so now when we go on a site visit to Scuola del Cuoio, I can ask intelligent questions beyond the realm of “How do you make your products?” The pre-departure meetings also required me and my group to research a brief history of Italy. Through this research, I learned a lot of interesting things about Italy’s rich history that I will get to see firsthand when I am there. For example, Lake Como is where Mussolini was captured after WWII, which is a pretty significant event in the history of Italy and even the world. I will get to see that same lake that Mussolini was captured at a couple of decades ago. In addition to the history of Italy, the meetings also gave us a lot of cultural background on Italy so that we will not be shocked by some things when we arrive. I found some of those cultural differences striking, like the fact that you can have a table at a restaurant for hours. That excited me, because I love to have long conversations with people at dinner tables, and I feel as if in America you just can’t do that at restaurants because they’re always trying to move you in and out to make more money. I also learned that in Italy (and Europe in general) people are very political, so I will no longer be surprised if an Italian asks me my opinion on our president.
My departure from the States is only a couple of days away, and I feel ready, thanks to the pre-departure meetings, to explore a new country and how business is run there. Arrivederci!