Savoring the Moment: Lessons in Sustainability and Culture from Paris to Rome

Guest Post By: Harman Basra, a Full-Time MBA Candidate. He is a Global Business Center Study Abroad Scholarship Recipient, and he studied abroad through I BUS 570: Study Tour to France & Italy during Spring Break 2024.

Embarking on a study abroad journey to Paris, with a memorable visit to Rome, unveiled a rich tapestry of cultural and business insights that transformed my worldview and approach to my future career. The essence of Paris, particularly the historic charm of Montmartre where I stayed, contrasted yet complemented my experiences in Rome, near the timeless beauty of the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon. In Paris, I experienced the aroma of freshly baked croissants, whereas in Rome it was the earthy scent of ancient ruins.

In the heart of these vibrant cities, I discovered the profound impact of cultural differences on business practices. European businesses, I observed, move with a deliberate pace that prioritizes sustainability and quality of life for both employees and consumers. This approach, focused more on long-term value than on immediate returns, was eye-opening. It taught me the importance of integrating global perspectives into business, a lesson I am determined to carry forward in my career. This realization was underscored by meaningful engagements, such as a five-hour dinner in a 17th-century Parisian restaurant with my study group, where the blend of flavors, laughter, and discussions underlined the essence of the European lifestyle – the art of savoring the moment.

A day trip to Champagne Mercier brought to life the concepts of sustainable business practices. Located in the French countryside, the visit was not only a sensory delight with the taste of premium champagne and the view of sprawling vineyards but also an educational experience. Learning about the vineyard’s commitment to sustainable viticulture and touring their historic cellars provided insights into how tradition and environmental stewardship can intertwine, highlighting the importance of sustainability in the global business landscape.

Living in hotels at the cultural epicenters of Paris and Rome, I was thrust into the midst of local life, allowing me to absorb the rhythm and pulse of these cities through all my senses. The echo of footsteps in underground cellars during a visit to Champagne Mercier, the crisp taste of sustainably produced champagne, and the sight of green vineyards under the French sun enriched my understanding of how business and culture intertwine in the French countryside.

One of the most impactful takeaways from my time abroad was the realization of how globalization has not erased the unique cultural identities that shape business and life across borders. Celebrating these differences, rather than overlooking them, is what makes global business so fascinating and rewarding. My experiences in Paris and Rome have not only broadened my perspective on international business but have also ignited a determination to incorporate global business practices into my future career. This journey was a reminder of the world’s vast diversity and the value of embracing and learning from the multitude of cultures that make up our global community.