“Being a liberal arts school, they don’t want you to just study for your specific Major, they want you to explore and learn from other things,” explained Sindelt before describing the study abroad office as being helpful and encouraging. As a result, she feels she has been able to take an interdisciplinary approach to her education, enabling her to confidently relate to people of diverse backgrounds. In conclusion, Sindelt shared that she felt Marymount Manhattan played a significant role in her decision to go abroad. She now feels more prepared for her future career in the business field.”
Sindelt Flores, a Business Major at Marymount Manhattan College, completed a semester abroad at the Umbra Institute, an American study abroad institution in Perugia, Italy. Before leaving Perugia, Sindelt sat with Umbra staff to talk about her time in Italy, a conversation that emphasized her experience learning Italian while also placing importance on being culturally aware when conducting business.
In an increasingly globalized society, students are often advised to study languages and cultural values and norms; with the Hofstede Analysis being a famous first step toward cross-cultural understanding in the business classroom. This suggestion is to help future business people with things such as communicating with a host society and providing products/services that are valued by a host culture, all without losing opportunities or engaging in cultural faux pas. Though Sindelt did not take a business course during her summer abroad, she was able to study the Italian language with the goal of gaining insight into the Italian culture. Her first-hand experience in Italy gave her the opportunity to observe the intricacies of Italian culture that cannot easily be understood from a textbook.
“It is important to get a grasp of the fundamentals of a new language,” Sindelt shared. She then described her course as going beyond the foundational level of language learning, stating, “My professor made everything fun and very hands-on. I honestly think that is the best way to learn.” In her Italian class, her professors spoke Italian from the first day and class time was used to teach both grammar and Italian culture. Sindelt described learning to food shop in Italy, visit a local café, and even ride public transportation as part of practical elements of the course. Her Italian professor taught her about the relaxed feeling of Italian time and the Italian emphasis on the importance of family. In addition, living with Italian recycling laws and in a culture ingrained with Slow Food ideology taught Sindelt about a worldview that is conscious of health and waste, and that has instinctively collectivist habits. For a business student, this offers a stark contrast to the fast-paced American culture of individualism.
Class Year and Major
Class of 2018, Business Major with concentration in Media and Arts Management