Random Acts of Kindness

Throughout my time in Europe so many people have been very kind and willing to help. It has honestly surprised me since I have always heard that Europeans are not a fan of Americans. I have started a running list of all the kind acts we have experienced, but today’s experience takes the cake! 

We spent the weekend in Sorrento, Italy and this morning we woke up to catch a smaller train to the Naples train station where we would catch our bigger train to Florence at 12:00pm. We left the hotel at 10:00am to walk to the train station in order to get on the 10:28am train. The train did not show up until almost 11. We were the second stop and it was already packed!! We crammed ourselves on and began the journey. 

About halfway there the train stopped at Pompei and about 50% of the people got off making seats available. A few stops later I looked at the time realizing it was now 11:30 and we still had half way to go. We started getting nervous and unsure of whether we would be able to make the train or not. Sure enough we pulled into the train station right at noon. We ran to the platforms in hopes that by some small chance our train would be running late and we could hop on. We asked a man for help and he told us we had just missed it. 

This man directed is to a Tren Italia kiosk where we showed another man our ticket and asked him to change it for us, (typically in Europe if you buy a train ticket it is valid for 4-6 hours after the original train time for instances such as this) but he responded saying it was impossible for him to change our ticket and that we needed to purchase a new one. He said we had discounted tickets which confused us because we purchased them on the Tren Italia website without a discount code or anything.

Before spending another 75 euros on a whole new ticket we decided to go to the Tren Italia information center as a last stictch effort to get the ticket changed m. We got a number and waitned in line for at least 20 minutes. All 3 of us did not want to spend any more money if we didn’t have to, so while in line we schemed up who would talk and what we would say in hopes that our delivery would sway the person into helping us out. 

When it was our turn at the counter we told the man all about the train situation and how we ran through the station trying to catch our train at the last minute. He took a look at our tickets and stepped away to talk to someone. When he came back he said he could help us. He said technically we needed to buy new tickets but that he would help us out and put us on the 1:00 train no extra charge. We thanked him perfusley and went to board our train!! 

From this situation I learned to always ask for help and sometimes even a second opinion. It never hurts to ask. The worst that can happen is that the answer is no, but if you do not ask then you will never know if the answer could have been yes. Secondly, it reminded me to be a blessing to the world. That man made our day and it was fairly easy for him to do. When the opportunity arises, whether big or small, and you are able to help you should always take it. I know I will next time!!



“God, today is the last like this. This place, this people, this moment – it will never again be just like this. Cause my eyes to see everything in my life afresh.”

After finishing my last final this morning, I had some time to read my devotional in the courtyard one last time and I can upon this quote. It could not be more fitting as today is my last day in Paderno del Grappa. While it feels like I have been here forever, it also feels like I haven’t been here long at all. There have been moments of laughter, stress, joy, frustration, and pure fun. My favorite part of this adventure has been meeting new people and being able to share new experiences with them, I have seen how that can create a unique bond of friendship. I have gained knowledge in the classroom, but mostly from just embracing the change that comes along with being in a different country. 

While I am sad to be leaving this place that has so quickly become my home I am excited to move forward, continuing to reflect and learn from my time here. I know the memories made will last a life time! 

View from campus. Dorm on the left. 

View from my last walk through town. 

Weekend Travels

I just finished my 3rd travel weekend of the program. This time spent traveling on the weekend with my new friends has been some of my favorite! 
Weekend 1: Cinque Terre 

Since it was the first travel weekend it was so exciting to finally be in a new destination. I remember being so happy that first morning when we walked down to the bustling streets of Riomaggoire. People everywhere, fresh fruit stands, and warm sunny skies. It was just a cool feeling to realize that I was on my own traveling for the first time ever and it was going well. The 5 cities of cinque Terre were breathtaking and I loved the coastal city feel. 

That weekend I learned to have faith that everything will work out. We booked our hostel only two days before we left and it did not have one single good review, but it was our only option. I was very nervous about the whole thing, so my expectations were low. But when we arrived my expectations were exceeded! Everyone had a bed, we had an incredible view, and they even had towels! Just a little reminder that sometimes the spontaneous things turn out to be the best. 

Weekend 2: Amsterdam
The second weekend my cousin Emily and I traveled to Amsterdam to meet another cousin of mine from the other side of the family. Megan and her husband are living in Germany for 3 years so we met them in Amsterdam for the weekend. The week leading up to our trip one of our professors told us that Amsterdam is the weekend trip that most students wish they had done differently. Most think it is dirty and not worth the long travel. We had been hearing mixed reviews ever since we got to Italy so we were really starting to second guess our choice. Panicked we consulted Megan and Andrew, the Airbnb had been booked already so we decided we would stick to our plan. 

The weekend was full of delicious food, beautiful canal views, and sweet sweet family time. Riding through Vondelpark on bikes was blissful and the Van Gogh and Anne Frank museums were a once in a lifetime experience. I loved every minute of the weekend!!! This weekend the lesson was to take what you hear with a grain of salt, everyone has different experiences. You should always go and form your own opinion about a place. Amsterdam turned out to be wonderful and I would go again in a heartbeat!!

Weekend three: Rome

It was sad realizing it was my last travel weekend with friends, but I was excited to get away! Booking transportation and lodging was stressful and was really a learning experience on how to work with different personalities. Like always everything worked out well. It was a great weekend seeing some of the most historical sights. Although very crowded with tourists I was still able to find and enjoy moments that made the city feel small.

In my management class we are in the middle of a group project on an Italian innovation. My group has Eataly, which is an Italian grocery store comparable to Whole Foods but even better. I was able to visit one while in Rome which was really cool. I will now be able to apply my experience to my project as well as share pictures. 

Business in Italy

It has now been two full weeks since I have been in Italy!! I have not been writing as much as I would like to, each day here is just packed with new adventures that it is hard to find the time to slow down and reflect. 

Last week both my marketing and management classes took a field trip to tour different Italain companies. I was amazed by the attention to detail and the standard of quality the companies maintained. 

My management class went to Loison Pasticerri dal 1938. It is a pastry factory that manufactures panettone, a sweet Italain cake typically enjoyed during the Christmas season. The owner talked about the innovation and customization he has incorporated into the company. He sources whatever ingredients he can from Italy and if he can’t get the ingredients in Italy then he finds the best of whatever he needs and sources it from there. Each ingredient is the best of the best. The company does not settle for the cheapest product but rather finds the highest quality ingredients so that the consumer knows the company is serious about quality. From the same salt the Pope uses down to the packaging of each and every product Loison strives for excellence. The company is constantly looking for new ways to please the consumer and penetrate the market. The owner said once a consumer has had Loison products twice they will be hooked forever! 

Along with a tour around the facility we had a tasting. We got to try 3 flavors of Panettone, two Panettone filled macaroons, and two types of wine. The macaroons are part of Loison’s plan to expand the market for Panettone and incorporate it into existing recipes.

In my marketing class we were able to visit a ceramics factory. Each piece was being painted individually by hand. For a company producing dish wear for many major U.S. Companies I was amazed that they were still able to individually create each piece. I would have assumed that it was all done mechanically through a large machine. Again I was just blown away by the attention to detail and care for quality.

This is something I want to take back with me and carry into my future business endeavors. I have been inspired by the desire to create a quality product as well as the customization. To see a need and find a way to meet it in a unique way that will set you apart, that is what I hope to do one day! 

The adventure begins! 

I finally made it to Italy!! After hours of travel I was able to explore Venice. Walking 8 miles through the entire city, I saw it all. I had my first true Italian pizza experience and some gelato for desert. Although I was exhausted, it was a great first day in Italy!

Now I have made it to Paderno del Grappa home of CIMBA. So it has been an easy adjustment to life here. In the morning I have two classes and then two afternoons a week I have an afternoon class for a 3 hour block of time. These afternoon classes typically consist of field trips to better enhance what we are learning about in the class room. 

On our free afternoons and nights CIMBA has trips planned to nearby cities and different cultural excursions, I plan to take advantage of as many as possible!!! Yesterday I was able to go to Asolo, only 15 minutes away. It had beautiful views of the Italian countryside and the narrow cobblestone streets you imagine an Italian town would have. Asolo is on the list of 1000 places to see before you die and now I know why! Glad I got to check it off the list! 

Today the giro d’Italia came through town!! The giro is a bike race that is equivalent to the Tour de France. The whole town shut down and all the afternoon blocks took a field trip to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity! Locals and students were lined up all down the streets and as the bikers passed through everyone cheered. It was such a neat experience, something not everyone gets to see while they study abroad!

Here we go!!

Hi, my name is Erin Poerschke and I am a junior at the University of Arkansas. This summer I will be studying in Italy with the CIMBA program for 4 weeks. I am originally from Houston, TX and this will be my first time to go to Europe. I am a week and a half away from leaving for Italy and I could not be more excited!!!

Coming to college I always knew I wanted to study abroad, but never knew what that would look like until I found CIMBA, a program that combines the beautiful Italian countryside with the opportunity to study business. I am working to receive a degree in Human Resource Management with a minor in Marketing. My goal is to better understand people and their perspectives on their work environments so that I can create a positive culture in the work place where people enjoy coming to work each day. While at CIMBA, I will have the opportunity to interact and network with a variety of different people, to learn how certain situations are handled within other cultures, and to compare Italy’s economic system to that of the United States. This experience and understanding of culture combined with knowledge gained in both the Walton and CIMBA classrooms is something I could use to benefit people in my future career. While at CIMBA I will be taking a Global Consumer class while in Italy with Walton’s own Molly Rapert. We will be studying life and business in both China and Africa. I will also be taking an International Commerce, Culture and Innovation Management class.

I have a cousin who is a sophomore at Clemson University and she will be joining me in Italy. We have traveled together some before, but never longer than a week. I am so excited to share this  experience with Emily as well as make new life long friends. I will be posting here regularly once in Europe, so I hope you will follow me on this grand adventure!!