Guest post by Justice Landenburg, a Foster senior studying accounting who participated in the new Accounting Exploration Seminar in Rome. Justice is a recipient of the GBC scholarship.
Traveling overseas for the very first time was more eye opening, and an even better experience than imaginable. I was so honored to have had this opportunity and tried to take in every second of it while being abroad. Italy is very different from our country we live in and I caught on to that quite quickly. The people are very friendly, although some tend to get a bit frustrated if you do not try to speak to them in their own language. It was nice that I had Italian classes twice a week to help me catch onto the language a bit faster. I learned things such as how to say thank you, and say we are ready for the check, fairly quickly. A way I was really able to immerse myself into the culture was through meals. We went out to group dinners at authentic Italian restaurants allowing ourselves to eat like true Italians. We had several courses throughout the meals, and took our time really enjoying each course throughout our three hour-long dinners.
One experience that stood out to me the most during this trip was our company visit to PriceWaterhouseCoopers. This experience was so memorable to me because I just accepted an internship at the PWC Seattle office for next summer, and I was able to see how tax differs so much in other countries. It was incredible to be able to see another PWC office across the world and know that I will potentially be working full time at PWC one day. It also opened my eyes up to the possibilities within a career path at PWC, and that if I wanted I was able to one day transfer and work for another PWC office somewhere, even all the way in Rome. Throughout this company visit we were able to interact with many PWC employees, and get insight on what it was like to do work for a PWC office located in Rome. One thing we talked a lot about was double taxation and how they work closely with the U.S. to try and avoid this. We also touched on VAT and how this sector they have in Rome is different from the Seattle office where I will be interning. We then compared taxes for individuals and noticed how in Italy they rise much quicker with level of income, and are higher overall than U.S. individual tax rates.
My overall experience abroad was one to remember forever, and I still cannot believe it is already over with. I will always remember my time there, the culture Italy has to offer, and how businesses in my career field work differently across the world. I am so thankful for this opportunity and for my scholarship that was able to help make this all happen. This was a once in a lifetime trip that I will be able to cherish forever.