Our trip to the Balkans included stops in Croatia, Albania, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Kosovo, all in just ten days. We flew into Dubrovnik (aka where they filmed Game of Thrones!!), and the city was beautiful. Our first experience with the locals in Croatia was at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and it was very interesting to hear how they view business. The idea for most people there was that you worked to live, rather than living to work. There wasn’t a lot of motivation to progress in a career, most people were content just earning enough to enjoy life outside of work. I didn’t realize how much of a foreign concept this was until I went abroad. Everything we do here in the U.S. is fast paced and goal oriented. We’re always trying to be better than we currently are, and if I am being honest, that’s how I like it.
Our project was to decide whether or not we would start up a business in the region, and while I do think there are a lot of opportunities for business there, I don’t think any of them are for me. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my time over there! The trip was very peaceful, and the views were breathtaking no matter where we went. It was amazing to be in a place that seemed so insanely foreign, but was constantly reminding me of my home. Most of the people seemed very content running on “Balkan time” where deadlines weren’t the most important thing, and coffee breaks weren’t meant to be rushed. I appreciated my time over there, and I still hope to work internationally one day in my career. If I learned anything on this trip, it’s that I need to learn to be more patient and accept the fact that not everyone is in as much of a rush as we are here in the U.S. I can’t say which kind of culture is better, but I think it’s important that we realize there’s quite a few different ways of doing business.
Paige Amoroso is majoring in Management and Human Resource Management. She participated in a faculty-led trip to the Balkans through the College of Business in May, 2018.
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