This past summer, 25 students from Universita Cattolica in Milan, Italy, came to Boston to take part in a three-week intensive program at the College of Communication. The program offers a unique mix of academic studies and extra-curricular activities. Besides courses in interactive marketing and communication, oral presentation and special event planning and promotion, students visit PR and advertising agencies as well as event venues to relate their freshly learned knowledge to the professional world.
When you ask Cecile Laager what she loved most about the exchange program, she will say: “Everything!” Cecile was one of the 25 business and communication students who participated in this year’s program. She always dreamed of experiencing American college life and thought this program was the perfect opportunity to learn about American universities and the American lifestyle.
“Here in Italy, the lessons and the way we interact with our professors is very different,” she said. “In Boston, we could experience life as a typical American student—everything was new and amazing for us!” The only downside, she said, is the length of the program. She wished she could have stayed longer.
Professor Rosella Gambetti from Universita Cattolica approached Professor Carter and Professor Quigley in 2008 to set up this program. Together, they established the curriculum and coordinated the program when the first students arrived in the summer of 2009.
Professor Gambetti thinks the uniqueness of the program derives from the students’ opportunity to complement their typically European-oriented approach to corporate communication with a more pragmatic and managerial method. “Students get a cross-cultural perspective (…), which can make them more competitive in the job market,” she said.
“For students of Universita Cattolica, it is very difficult to get access to companies or consultancies,” Professor Quigley said. “This openness of the business world is very unusual in Italy, which is why the visits to PR and ad agencies are an aspect of our program that students value very much,” he said.
This program once again proves the importance of international relations between universities. It builds up a positive international reputation and attracts foreign talent. Cecile, for example, was so happy with her experience in Boston, she is thinking of coming back to Boston University to attend some more courses or apply for a program.