Department offers Italy trip

Rebecca Watts

When in Rome, do as Missouri Southern students do.

The accounting department is arranging a trip to Italy for interested students from May 15-24.

They will be studying and experiencing Italian culture, as well as studying the rise of business and medicine during the Renaissance.

“It’s so amazing a university of this size having this as a part of the state-funded mission,” said Dr. Betty Harris, assistant professor of accounting. “It’s like you don’t have to have gobs of money, anybody here can go if they want to. I think it’s a fabulous part of our purpose.”

Requirements for the trip include a heavily researched paper turned in before the trip and a presentation of the chosen topic while in Italy.

“They’ll get to present it right where the action was,” Harris said. “I think that’s going to be really neat, and I think it’ll stick with people. I think that’ll really tie it together for the students, we’ll have the art, the medicine, commerce, business, the whole package of the Renaissance. I think it’ll make all of their research worth it, and more.”

Students do not have to be accounting majors, however, the trip counts as three credit hours of accounting.

“One of the first people signing up is a biology major,” said Dr. David Smith, head of the department of accounting. “It’s more about how the Renaissance really built this whole idea of professions, and looking at how they all tie together.”

Participants in the trip will meet four times in the spring to research the revelations of the Renaissance, and work out details to avoid loose ends. Past students have written papers on topics such as “Leonardo da Vinci: Forerunner to Today’s Aviation Industry.”

“They’re not really accounting related, there is a wide range of what they’re doing,” Smith said. “We’re looking at the Renaissance because it gave birth to so many things, contributing to the professional fields of law, medical and commerce.”

The trip will spend days in Florence, Rome, Venice and other side places like Pompeii. Smith said students will have the opportunity to see the biblical scene where Paul and Peter were imprisoned. He said it is a small cave no higher than his bookshelf in his office.

“It’s just amazing and a lot of fun,” he said.

On a business side of the trip, the students will visit a Leggett & Platt facility between Florence and Venice. This will also incorporate tours of the firm’s international offices. Students will not have to worry about experiencing Italy alone for the first few days.

“We have it set up to where we tend to do more group activities [on the first day], like a tour of Rome by bus, to see what interests you,” Smith said. “What we found successful is if you get a broad group of activities, the students can see what’s out there.”

Harris said the trip isn’t just for knowledge, but the personal impression a place can make on an individual.

“It broadens our perspective,” she said. “And the bottom line is, when you come back home you appreciate home so much more. We all learn how to appreciate things through time.”

Harris said the appropriate quote for this trip can be found in the book 1,000 Places To See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz.

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the places and moments that take our breath away.” The source is anonymous.

On this trip, students will be expected to see 10 of those 1,000 places. Interested students may contact Smith or Harris in the accounting department.