Taste of Europe: Sparty On

What an amazing experience it has been. These past three weeks will be ones that I will never forget. Each city possessed unique and unforgettable qualities that differentiated them from the next.

When we first arrived in Barcelona, I was amazed how hot the city was. I couldn't believe that people could live there for a whole summer! Our apartments we stayed at for the week had a perfect set up. Each one had up to 5 bedrooms with over 10 beds that comfortably slept the whole group. Our days were spent attending class in the mornings then touring the city in the afternoons. Although there are many beautiful sights to see in Barcelona, such as the Sagrada Família and Park Güell, my favorite was about a half hour outside the city in Montserrat. This is where I stepped a little outside of my comfort zone and hiked about 4,000 feet above sea level. This mountain is also known as the peak in Spain. I highly recommend doing this while traveling to Barcelona, it's beautiful, exhilarating and adventurous. The first week of classes in Barcelona were interesting because everything was all still very new. The classes allowed for us students to connect more as a group and get to know each other. The group activities we participated in allowed us to share ideas with one another which allowed us to see the full potential of our peers. I really enjoyed collaborating with others because not only do you get to know them, but you get to experience their insight on certain topics.

Cannes, France was absolutely beautiful. Cannes is located in the southern part of France which explains its amazing beauty. During our week in Cannes, we attended the Cannes Lion Festival. Going into the week, I expected this festival to be filled with hours of talks that wouldn't really appeal to me much. It turned out to be the complete opposite. The festival consisted of talks and speeches from some of the most respected and successful individuals in the marketing and advertising industry.  There were also speeches from stars such as Nick Jonas, Karlie Kloss, Alexander Wang and many more. These stars talked about their upbringing and how they became so successful. This was very beneficial for us students because they discussed how in order to be where they are today, they had to be very determined individuals at a young age. Other talks that I attended regarded certain techniques and inventions the company was currently coming out with. For example, Chevy employees discussed their newest app to prevent teens from texting and driving. This was one of my favorite talks at the festival because Chevy gathered several brilliant teens to come up with a successful solution to their problem, and they did.

Our last week in Amsterdam was bittersweet. I didn't want the adventures to stop, but I was starting to miss home just a bit. The last week of classes in Amsterdam was my favorite. During this week, we had the chance to make two Nike commercials that would air in Amsterdam. This was my favorite challenge because I absolutely love filming and editing, especially for an advertisement. Unfortunately, my group members and myself did not win the challenge, but we had an amazing experience producing it.

These past three weeks made me learn numerous things about myself. Most importantly, it made me realize that I'm certain I want to continue my education in the advertising field. I was absolutely fascinated with every agency we visited. Every employee in each country loved what they were doing which made their environments positive and successful.  For those who are interested in attending this program next summer, I'll give you three words of advice: just do it. This has been an experience filled with amazing opportunities, friendships that will last a lifetime and a better understanding of myself. I'd advise you to approach this trip with an open mind that is ready for any type of adventure that comes your way. I'd like to thank two people that made this trip the best it could have possibly been, Juan Mundel and Viky Stabio. These two not only planned and made everything we did possible, but they also made it fun and worth our time. Go Green!

By Carina Bertakis