A student’s look at the Marketing Mediterranean Cruise from COB

Christopher Dalov/Guest Columnist

As an incoming sophomore at FIU, I am always looking out for any chance to get myself involved with anything that will provide me with exposure to new and exciting experiences. Because of this, the 2018 Marketing Mediterranean Cruise from the FIU College of Business seemed to be a perfect match for me. From Wednesday, June 27 to Saturday, July 7, I got to visit Spain, France, Italy, Montenegro and Croatia, all in little over a week! It was practically a dream come true for me.

The whole purpose behind the trip was for an understanding of international business and culture in foreign countries, as well as how to better market yourself in today’s technologically-advanced and fast-moving global world. While there, I visited Barcelona, Spain, Cannes and Nice, France, Genoa and Rome, Italy, Kotor, Montenegro and Zadar, Croatia. Needless to say, it was one of the most rewarding, informative, and enriching experiences I have had. Every city there boasts such an extensive and impressive list of historical cultural accomplishments, dating all the way back to Antiquity!

Getting to be more acquainted with the culture of the Mediterranean region was extremely rewarding for me as an Architecture major. Its influence is predominant stylistically in Miami and southern Florida specifically. The extravagant, brightly-colored houses, with arches and shingled roofs, set alongside beautiful beach coastlines and palm trees decorating the landscape exhume a feel of “visiting the grandparents” – with unconditional love and hospitality.

It was amazing to see where the Floridian style came and how it evolved over time. The sheer number of objects to visit is overwhelming – beautiful Renaissance churches, sculptures, and paintings, and other historical sites.

From the business perspective, each country has a bustling economy keeping up with the current technological trends while staying true to their customs.

For instance, in Barcelona we had the opportunity to visit two particularly famous Spanish companies – El Cortes Ingles, and the Codorniu Winery. Both of these brands are ones that have gained national (and international) fame and popularity. However, it sets up an interesting contrast at the same time. The winery is an old traditional business that has been around since the 1600’s, and involves imports and exports from and to many countries. Despite their modern brand recognition, they still make their wine the old fashioned way—by extracting the grape juices by hand and not utilizing new technology.

Meanwhile, El Cortes Ingles is a more recent business and is focused on how to set off their name against global competitors like Amazon, for example. While both are very much different in their business models and goals, both of them are unique and impressive. Our group was greeted by the faculty members of the architecture department of FIU in Genoa. We received a warm welcome and a great guidance while there.

This was a time that I will never forget. The friendships I created, the lessons I learned in managing a business and marketing yourself as a brand, the beautiful sights of the cities… it was such an immensely valuable and essential thing for my growth as a person. Without it, I do not think I would have been able to say that I was truly embracing the international experience of FIU.

Beyond the highly valuable architectural and business experiences, however, I have also learned something just as useful as well. That is, that the world is always open, and waiting for people to get to see it. However, before all that happens, one has to abandon fear and learn to embrace new horizons. If we do not learn these things, how will we ever succeed or get anywhere, after all?

Photo courtesy of Christopher Dalov.

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