Spring Break

In my last post I teased about the awesome spring break I had planned, and I can now confirm that it lived up to the hype! My friends and I visited the capitals of six different countries all in the span of nine days. It was a pretty exhausting week of travel, but being able to learn so much and experience vastly different cultures in a rapid-fire sense was well worth the lack of sleep!

We began our trip flying from Venice to Berlin, Germany, a city particularly rich with history from the World War II. Berlin was divided between a communist east side controlled by the Soviet Union, and an allied west side split up between France, Britain and the United States. The hostel we stayed at was right across the street from the east side gallery of the Berlin Wall, which of course was the dividing line preventing the people from East Germany from fleeing to the free west side. The east side gallery is the longest preserved part of the wall where artists from all over the world came to paint murals symbolizing the newfound freedom. With all of its history, Berlin was definitely one of the most interesting destinations of my trip.

From Berlin we flew to Bratislava for an intentional four-hour layover. Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia, a country with impressive hockey feats considering its small size. It just so happened that when walking around the city I happened to stumble past a sports bar that was showing a particular hockey game, my Dallas Stars vs. the New York Rangers. I could not believe my eyes when I saw the victory green at the American Airlines Center. Considering how much I’ve been missing my stars, this was definitely my fondest memory of the short time I spent in Bratislava.

From Bratislava we took a bus to Budapest, the capital of Hungary. The city is split into the districts of Buda and Pest, connected over the Danube River by the Chain Bridge. We stayed on the Pest side where the beautiful Hungarian Parliament Building is found. On the Buda side is castle hill where the Buda Castle stands today. Elevated above the river and rest of the city, the Buda Castle offered amazing views that were well worth the hike.

Our next bus took us to Vienna, Austria. Vienna has an artistic and intellectual legacy shaped by famous residents such as Mozart, Beethoven and psychologist Sigmund Freud. We were able to visit the cemetery where Mozart is buried and visit his grave. Vienna was also home to the Habsburg family, one of the most influential royal families in all of Europe from the 15th to 18th centuries. They had two palaces, summer and winter, which we were able to visit.

Our last bus ride landed us in the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague. Prague has a very medieval history and an amazing castle to show for it. The Prague Castle is a massive complex that houses the current President of the Czech Republic. The castle has many different churches, palaces and halls alike. My personal favorite was the old armory that had since been turned into a museum displaying the old weaponry used over the span of several decades.

Coming up this week is our second extended travel weekend. We have Thursday, Friday and the following Monday off of school. My friends and I are going to Barcelona for the entire break. We figured an extended amount of time in such a great city wouldn’t be a bad change of pace from our normal country-hopping ways. Looking forward to the nice weather and a relaxing several days before heading back to campus and preparing for final exams the week after next. Time is flying by here but it’s been an incredible journey, I’m excited to make the most out of the last few weeks and cherish all the new friends I have made.



Trevor Ivy



One of the biggest factors in my decision to attend CIMBA as opposed to other study abroad destinations was the prospect of independent travel.  CIMBA offers 25 travel days, including two long weekends and an entire travel week.  We’ve already had one long weekend and have our “spring break” coming up next week.

I’ve had the chance to visit some pretty amazing places in Europe thus far and look forward to the rest of the travels this semester will contain.  Besides Paderno del Grappa, where campus is located, I’ve been to six Italian cities: Bassano del Grappa, Asolo, Verona, Venice, Florence, and Cortina d’Ampezzo.  Cortina is a city in the Dolomite mountain range where I just spent the past weekend snowboarding.  The prior weekend was spent in Florence, which is my favorite of the Italian cities I’ve seen so far this semester. My time spent in Venice was on Fat Tuesday during Carnivale. Venice is regarded as one of the best places in the world to be for this profoundly celebrated Catholic holiday.

Besides Italy I’ve already gotten to visit three other countries: France, Belgium, and The Netherlands.  The cities I visited were Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam respectively.  We had a day full of rain in Paris, but still made it out to the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower.  Brussels was a city I fell in love with during our short time there.  The Grand Place is the main attraction there and the architecture in it is absolutely gorgeous.  I liked how the city combined traditional architecture and atmosphere with a large, modernized business center and downtown area.  Brussels is also the capital of the European Union, which is quite frankly beginning to fall apart.  It’s been particularly exciting to study in Europe during this time and follow what’s going on with the EU.  From Brussels we took a short train ride to Amsterdam in The Netherlands. Amsterdam is a really cool city that sits on several canals coming off of the dammed up Amstel river.  The history of Amsterdam is very interesting, as I learned on a bike tour of the city.  One of the most interesting facts is that when the city was founded property taxes were paid on the basis of the width of the house, leading to citizens building up not out.  The tall, skinny houses also create a problem because it’s impossible to bring anything large up a staircase.  As a result, each house had a hook at the top so they could use a pulley system to get furniture and other large objects into upstairs rooms through the windows.

My fiends and I will be embarking on a “capital tour” during our travel week.  We will visit the capital city of six different European countries: Germany, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, and Belgium.  It just so happened that going from Prague to Brussels and then to Venice from there was about half the price compared to going straight from Prague to Venice.  Our transportation round trip from Venice is compromised of four flights and three busses, only amounting to about €175 in total!  Our group is very excited about this economical, yet incredible tour coming up next week.  I can’t wait to learn about six different countries and their incredible capitals, all in the span of nine days!



Trevor Ivy


Sign an the entrance of campus in Paderno del Grappa


View from my dorm room window featuring Monte Grappa


Verona, Italy


Piazza Bra, which includes the Arena di Verona (colosseum partially shown on left)


Verona, Italy


Juliet’s (Romeo & Juliet) house and balcony in Verona, Italy.  It’s apparently good luck for romantic endeavors to touch the breast of Juliet’s statue, as you can see.


The Louvre courtyard





Some friends and I in front of the Eiffel Tower


Flying from Paris to Venice over the Alps


Field trip on a foggy morning to the nearby town of Asolo, which is normally known for incredible views


Fountain in the main square of Asolo featuring the St. Marks winged lion


Panorama of Brussels Grand Place at night


Panorama of Brussels Grand Place during the day



One of the many beautiful canals in Amsterdam


Westerkerk church in Amsterdam


Anne Frank house and museum


Venice’s main canal


Panorama from just outside our hostel looking at the main island of Venice


Gondola ride in Venice



Selfie with the gondola driver and my Carnivale mask


Some friends and I with one of many couples dressed up for Carnivale


Carnivale in St. Marks square


St. Marks Basilica


Il Duomo di Firenze


Il Duomo di Firenze


Panorama of the Arno river and the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge


Looking over Florence from the Michelangelo Plaza


Looking down at the city of Cortina from the Faloria peak (2123 meters)


Panoramic view from the Pomedes peak (2303 meters)


About to start a run from the Forcella Staunies peak (2930 meters)


Myself on the Tondi peak (2362 meters)





I have just concluded a hectic first three weeks in Paderno del Grappa and am beginning our first long travel weekend. These first three weeks, known as CAP (CIMBA Advantage Program), provided us with a lot of cool seminars to get us started off on the right foot for the semester while we also begin our normal classes. We learned some survival Italian to get us by locally and tips for traveling around Europe, although I’ve already taken a few pretty cool trips that I’ll get to in my next blog. Other seminars included mindfulness, personal branding, time management, and a team building ropes-like course called the Da Vinci Challenge. A few activities in particular really put the advantage in CAP: LIFE and PSDM workshop. LIFE stands for Leadership Initiative for Excellence and PSDM is problem solving and decision-making.

In PSDM we learned about a technique that CIMBA is very fond of called Kepner-Tregoe. Named after the inventing psychologists, KT offers a process for decision-making that revolves around the idea of slowing down and visualizing your thoughts. The two psychologists followed several leaders renowned for their ability to make good, quick decisions to find similarities between their thought processes. KT separates the problem solving and decision making process into four sections: problem analysis, decision analysis, potential problem analysis, and situation appraisal. Each part involves coming up with and weighing alternatives that are combined to eventually show a clear best decision. I’m looking forward to continuing KT seminars during the semester and eventually becoming certified.

The other exciting CAP event was LIFE, a two and a half day intensive program where we had the chance to learn a lot about ourselves. LIFE was invented by CIMBA director Dr. Al Ringleb and is offered to CIMBA students as well as high-level executives. LIFE was a very scripted program, almost more of a production than program. Every exercise we did had a specific purpose and its timing during the two and a half days was well thought out. Our trainers, who maintained a loud angry voice for the duration of the program, were occasionally interrupted by Dr. Al who would step in and give a lecture about the neuroscience behind particular exercises. More than being deeply rooted in neuroscience, each activity was designed to drag you completely out of your comfort zone, especially early on. By the end nothing really felt out of our comfort zone, considering doing the early exercises was by far the most outside of my comfort zone I’ve ever found myself. It is worth mentioning that I am speaking now with 20/20 hindsight, because I could not see the meaning of any exercise we did until we graduated. But this is all part of the master plan behind LIFE, and why I won’t (per request) publicly go into detail about the exercises that took place during those two and a half days. The CIMBA students enrolled in LIFE were split into three groups, one for each CAP week. The secrecy of it all while the first group was going through leads one to have some varying thoughts about LIFE, mostly negative. Friends going through saying they can’t tell you what they’re doing creates an almost cult-like feel. Even worse than not giving details about their exercises they usually just say early on that it kind of sucks, because quite frankly being thrown out of your comfort zone in front of 30 something people that you have only known for a few days now does kind of suck. I went through LIFE the second week, so at the beginning I wasn’t really looking forward to what lied ahead. But as I mentioned earlier, part of the beauty of LIFE and the master plan behind it is that you can’t really understand the “why” until you’re done with it. To be honest I’m still not sure I could put together words to explain the “why” if I tried going into more detail. But there are a few things I can put into words quite simply. First, I have played on many sports teams throughout grade school, but I have never seen a group of people come together so fast and connect on such a deep level. Second, LIFE was without a doubt one of the best experiences for personal growth I’ve ever had in my life. I will look back at LIFE for the rest of my days and use what I learned to help me achieve my goals.

All in all, the CAP week was a great way to get settled in here in Italy. Not that I ever really had a doubt, but CAP also showed that I made a great decision coming to CIMBA specifically because there isn’t any other study abroad destination that can provide the same benefits that CIMBA can. Speaking of, my five-day weekend is about to begin as I’m currently flying to Brussels, the capital of Belgium. I’ll be sure to post some pictures from my travels thus far in my next blog!


Trevor Ivy

En Route

My name is Trevor Ivy. I’m a junior at the University of Arkansas originally from Plano, TX. I study Supply Chain Management in the Walton College and am pursuing a minor in International Business. However, for the Spring 2016 semester I will not be taking classes in Fayetteville with my peers. Instead I have decided to study abroad in the beautiful country of Italy, and share my experiences overseas with you in this blog.


As a millennial, I have seen so many technological advancements that completely changed the world. As a kid, I only really cared about the gadgets and toys that I could play with and their advancements.   It wasn’t until I started studying business in the Walton College that I was able to realize the extent to which some of the technological advancements that occurred in my lifetime had completely changed the environment for business. This ever-changing business environment requires those wishing to be involved to change with it. On this adventure of mine, where change is intended, I hope to grow both personally and professionally in order to achieve both my personal and professional goals.

This new environment for business is the result of the countries of the world being more connected today than ever before. This enables business to be done without borders so to speak, and connections to be made between countries’ economies and markets in a mutually beneficial way. I was able to witness this first hand when I studied abroad for the first time last summer in Panama. This program, deemed an International Business Seminar, featured many business visits in order to understand the specific Panamanian environment for business. This was a great experience for me and I learned so much, but it only lasted three weeks. I knew before I even left Panama that studying abroad was something I wanted to do again.


The program I will be attending this spring is called the Consortium of International Management and Business Analysis, CIMBA for short. This consortium is made up of 36 partner universities that can send their students and faculty to participate in the English-speaking program. CIMBA is located in the small city of Paderno del Grappa, and is one of a few programs that share space on the Istituto Filippin campus.

I believe CIMBA is the perfect program for me for many reasons. First, it pushes its students to explore Europe independently by offering many days off for travel. This enables me to combine my collegiate studies with world travel, something everyone (including myself) seems to have on their bucket list. Furthermore, the academic aspect of CIMBA is a step above every other program that I looked at. Their business-focused curriculum offers upper level business classes that will work towards my degree so I can stay on track for graduation. CIMBA also offers three leadership credit hours with the opportunity to obtain three different professional certificates in problem solving, decision-making, and leadership. These special offerings from CIMBA provide top-notch academic exposure and valuable leadership qualities that will help me achieve my professional goals.


So here I am, 37,000 feet up in a British Airways Boeing 747-400, embarking on another life-changing adventure. I can’t wait to get to campus and start getting to know some of the amazing people I will be surrounded by for the next three months. Hopefully April doesn’t come too fast!



Trevor Ivy


The British Airways Boeing 747-400 I flew on from Dallas to London