Global Initiatives

Innovo Consulting Scholars Present to UMD Cabinet

University of Maryland undergraduates put their innovation and problem-solving skills to the service of their fellow classmates. Jamie Grossarth, Ananth Shrivatsan, Sylviane Alexion, and Isaac Adeeku presented their proposal for improving the application process to the university's education abroad programs to members of the University Cabinet as their final project for the fall 2016 Innovo Scholars Consulting program on Dec. 16, 2016.

Girl Scout Cookie College Comes to Smith

More than 200 Girl Scouts came to Cookie College and learned about the business of selling cookies on Dec. 10, 2016, at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. “The girls learned life skills like goal setting and money management that will help them in all aspects of life,” said Sara Tyler, program specialist at the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital. “It sets them up for life.”

Holidays Around the World

The Office of Global Initiatives and CIBER team is recognizing holidays taking place throughout the world during this time of the year. Take a look below at some of the holidays that our team members have chosen to highlight.

The night before the Feast of Epiphany in Italy, Italian children leave their shoes out for La Befana. Folklore says that La Befana is a witch, or simply an old woman, who flies around on her broom on the eve of Epiphany, leaving candy and small toys in the shoes of good children (or coal and sticks if they have not been good!). Her annual flight is said to commemorate the night the Magi (Three Kings) stopped at her house while en route to Bethlehem to greet the newborn Jesus. It is said that while she declined the kings’ invitation to accompany them further on their journey because she had too much housework, she later changed her mind and set out behind them with gifts for Jesus. Sadly, she never caught up to them. As part of her annual trip, legend says that she distributes those gifts meant for Jesus to the children of Italy. Ever a conscientious housekeeper, she also sweeps the floor for the families who leave out wine, sausages, and broccoli for her. While her origin story and its details may vary throughout Italy, La Befana has become a national figure and is celebrated with festivals throughout the country. -Rebecca Bellinger, Managing Director, Office of Global Initiatives & CIBER Programs

Sankranti  is a festival celebrated in slightly different ways throughout different parts of India. It is celebrated as Pongal in Tamil Nadu; around Delhi, the night before is a bonfire festival Lohri. Primarily a harvest festival, it involves worship as a form of thanksgiving for the harvest and is focused around foods. Sweets involving sesame and jaggery (unprocessed sugar) and khitchdi (a melange of rice, lentils, and vegetables) are traditional in my home. - Kislaya Prasad, Executive Director, Center for International Business Education & Research 

The Feast of Epiphany or the Feast of Lights in Greece is celebrated on January 6. It celebrates the baptism of Jesus Christ by St. John the Baptist 2,000 years ago. As a symbolism throughout Greece on that day, Greek Orthodox priests bless homes with holy water. They then lead a procession to the sea to celebrate the immersion of the cross by blessing the waters. The priest tosses the cross into the water and brave swimmers jump into the cold sea to retrieve the cross for good blessings throughout the year. -Marina Augoustidis, Assistant Director, CIBER Programs

Many people in Japan visit a temple on December 31, welcome the New Year with the sound of the joya no kane bell ringing 108 times in the background, and say their first prayers on the spot. Just as many people celebrate the New Year at home and save hatsumode for their first outing of the year. Meiji-jingu Shrine attracts the greatest number of New Year visitors, counting as many as 3 million between New Year’s Eve and January 3. Only between these dates, and only in Tokyo, can anyone experience such a large crowd. A common custom during hatsumōde is to buy a written oracle called omikuji. If your omikuji predicts bad luck you can tie it onto a tree on the shrine grounds, in the hope that its prediction will not come true. The omikuji goes into detail, and tells you how you will do in various areas in your life, such as business and love, for that year. Often a good-luck charm comes with the omikuji when you buy it, that is believed to summon good luck and money your way. Jay Bhatt, 2nd year MBA student, Robert H. Smith School of Business

Christmas Eve in Poland is known as Wigilia and is typically a day of fasting. Christmas Eve supper is not allowed to be consumed until the first star in the night’s sky is spotted. The dinner consists of twelve dishes and typically does not include meat. Common dishes for the meal include beetroot soup, fish, pierogi, potatoes, cabbage and gingerbread. Oplatek - a large wafer that has a picture of Mary, Joseph and Jesus on it – is broken amongst everyone at the dinner while well-wishes are shared amongst guests. Presents are opened after the meal has finished. -Elizabeth Burzenski, Coordinator, Office of Global Initiatives & CIBER

Tet is a Vietnamese New Year’s celebration on the first day of the Lunar Calendar. It lasts a week long and includes dynamic festivities to welcome Spring such as loud firecrackers and delicious desserts. The best part is about Tet is after the children give their blessings to the adults, they get a "li xi" which is a red envelop with money inside. It is to be said that the adults gain luck, happiness, and longevity from the formality, and brings in positivity for the new year. -Diem Nguyen, Sophomore, Robert H. Smith School of Business

Christmas is one of the most important holidays in the Philippines. On Christmas Eve many Filipinos attend the midnight mass or Misa de Gallo followed by a late night feast and celebration called Noche Buena. Noche Buena is a celebration with family, friends and neighbors dropping in to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Traditional dishes include lechon (roasted pig), ham, steamed rice, fruit salad, rice cakes (bibingka and puto bumbong), flan and other sweets. A common decoration is the parol which is a star lantern made from bamboo and colored cellophane (you can see these glowing throughout the islands on Noche Buena leading up to Christmas day). Merry Christmas or Maligayang Pasko! - Greg Rafal, Undergraduate Programs Manager, Office of Global Initiatives & CIBER

La Chandeleur is a catholic Holiday celebrated in France on February 2. The French celebrate by savoring crepes with sugar, nutella, jam. When making a crepe, if you are successful at flipping the crepe and catching it in the pan, you will have prosperity for the entire year! - Olivia Nouailletas, Graduate Programs Manager, Office of Global Initiatives & CIBER

Brazil's two largest cities, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, celebrate the summer holiday by lighting huge Christmas (Natal) trees. In Sao Paulo, residents and visitors gather around Ibirapuera Christmas Tree to commemorate the lighting. Throughout the season, cars snake around it at all hours, particularly busy on weekends, to catch a glimpse of the iconic tree. Rio de Janeiro's Lagoa Christmas Tree is well known as being the world's largest floating Christmas tree. Fireworks and festivals on the water welcome the Christmas season. -Chris Olson, Assistant Director, Office of Global Initiatives & CIBER

Study Abroad Ambassadors

Sumit Dalsania, Senior, Finance & Biology

Sumit DalsaniaStudy Abroad: IE Business School Exchange – Spain (Spring 2016)


Interests: Hiking, biking, running, reading, and traveling

Global Mindset goals developed: Meeting students from all over the world and learning about their lives. Connecting with locals and experiencing everyday life in a Spanish town. Learning four types of traditional Spanish dancing. Traveling through Western and Eastern Europe, Israel, and Morocco.

Best memory or story abroad: A three-hour hike in the Canary Islands from a picturesque village to a beach through a gorge with a landscape straight from Jurassic Park.

Zahara Fisher, Senior, Finance & Marketing

Zahara Fisher

Study Abroad: Global Immersion Course – Australia and Dubai (Winter 2015) & Maryland-in-Barcelona - Italy (Spring 2016)


Interests: Communications, analytics, and travel

Global Mindset goals developed: Colloquial proficiency in Spanish, spend a semester abroad (done!), and to travel to every continent during my lifetime.

Best memory or story abroad: During my time in Barcelona, I traveled to Madrid for a weekend with some friends. While in Madrid, we visited Parque del Retiro and ran into like five other people from UMD! We spent the whole day there talking to people and sharing experiences. It made the world feel a lot smaller having those connections from home.

Evan Hass, Senior, Marketing

Evan HassStudy Abroad: IE Business School Exchange – Spain (Spring 2016)


Interests: Cars, sports (basketball, soccer, baseball), biking, hiking, and Spanish

Global Mindset goals developed: Explore career opportunities abroad, continue to get better at adapting to ambiguous situations, improve my Spanish

Best memory or story abroad: A UMD friend studying abroad in Manchester visited me for a few days. He clicked instantly with the friends I made abroad and we all got to re-explore Madrid through his perspective. We spent his last night hanging out until 3:30 AM, exchanging stories from abroad and talking about our lives

Sara Ho, Senior, Accounting & Information Systems

Sara HoStudy Abroad: Business Exchange at National Taiwan University – Taiwan (Fall 2015)


Interests: Traveling, and photography

Global Mindset goals developed: Strengthening of cross-cultural communication skills (main language spoken in Taiwan is Mandarin Chinese); Gain a better understanding about all aspects of life in Taiwan; Becoming more independent as I had never been away from home/family/friends for so long (I live 20-25 minutes away from campus)

Best memory or story abroad: Attending a huge new year's concert in Taipei - I went very early at 8am (the concert didn't start till 7pm) with a friend to scope out a good spot (we ended up being in the front row of our section - it was all standing area). It was one of the best nights of my life getting to experience New Year's like that. It was also pretty cool since we were in the front row my friends and I were featured on TV numerous times during the live broadcast!

Rachel Holzman, Senior, Marketing

Rachel HolzmanStudy Abroad: Maryland-in-Barcelona – Rome (Spring 2016)


Interests: Sports, international retail companies, ad agencies, and the outdoors

Global Mindset goals developed: Work for a company in an office oversees to experience business and life in another culture

Best memory or story abroad: My best memory from abroad was a compilation of the times I was walking down the streets of Barcelona where I studied, taking in the different culture and experiencing a laid back and socially oriented way of life, very different from what I experience in the U.S.

Sachi Khemka, Senior, Finance & Information Systems

Sachi KhemkaStudy Abroad: Cass Business School Exchange – London (Spring 2016)


Interests: Travel, entrepreneurship, rowing, and ceramics

Global Mindset goals developed: Sometime within the next 5 years, I hope to move to Australia. Having taken the Global Mindset Colloquium sophomore year, I realized how global all business is. It is so important to understand how to communicate with people who are different from you and to be able to apply a global mindset to all group settings in which you work. Therefore, I hope to use my cultural experiences as I pursue a career abroad.

Best memory or story abroad: One of my favorite memories from abroad was when my friends and I went down to southern England one weekend for a beach/hiking trip. We had a small picnic and then enjoyed the sunset on the cliff with the water below us. It was a great ending to midterms!

Jordan London, Senior, Supply Chain Management

Jordan LondonStudy Abroad: ISA Florence - Italy (Spring 2016)


Interests: Drawing, playing soccer, and being a part of my sorority

Global Mindset goals developed: Having a global mindset means learning about other cultures and keeping an open mind for different ways of thinking

Best memory or story abroad: My best memory was paragliding over the Swiss Alps

Dan Moscatiello, Senior, Finance

Dan MoscatielloStudy Abroad: Global Immersion Experience – Australia (Winter 2015) & Maryland-in-Rome – Italy (Spring 2016)


Interests: Travel, college basketball and football, hockey, music, and sightseeing

Global Mindset goals developed: Being able to step out of your comfort zone by spending time living in and interacting with another culture. The ability to look at business activity and come up with solutions from an international context does wonders for your personal and professional development.

Best memory or story abroad: My favorite memory was spending the last two weeks of the program with all my new friends from both UMD and other schools around the country. Almost every free moment we had, we would eat out at a nice restaurant, go out at night, sightsee all throughout Rome, and even just throw the Frisbee around in Villa Borghese, my favorite park in all of Rome. It really gave us a chance to solidify the bonds we made throughout the semester and laugh and remember all the memories we made and stories we would tell when we go back home. I still keep in touch with a lot of my abroad friends to this day!

Marissa Sawicki, Senior, Supply Chain Management and Operations Management/Business Analytics minor

Marissa SawickiStudy Abroad: Bocconi University Exchange – Italy (Spring 2016)


Interests: Traveling, hiking, running, trying new foods, and cooking

Global Mindset goals developed: Challenge myself in an unfamiliar environment, develop an international network, have fun!

Best memory or story abroad: A group of friends and I took part in a 60 KM bike ride of the entire Amalfi coast from Salerno to Sorrento. Due to the steep inclines of the route, it is a ride very few people do. The combination of the route's intensity and the handicap of the copious gelato I consumed throughout the semester definitely made this a feat for the books.

Meredith Soule, Senior, Marketing & Supply Chain Management

Meredith SouleStudy Abroad: Summer Global Internship – Australia (Summer 2015) & Cass Exchange Program – England (Spring 2016)


Interests: Skiing, surfing, scuba diving, hiking, and traveling

Global Mindset goals developed: Upon graduation, I am pursuing a career in marketing for an international company. My experiences abroad have given me a cultural curiosity that lends itself well to my career goals. Within a global role, one must be eager to learn about the different markets they are working in and be appreciative and aware of the differences in cultures across the world. I also hope to continue building my network to encompass business contacts from many countries.

Best memory or story abroad: When I was interning in Australia, I had the opportunity to go to Cairns for a weekend. During my trip, I went skydiving and scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef within a 24 hour time period. It was such an incredible experience and two of the most adventurous things I've ever done!

Foluke Tuakli, Senior, Marketing

Foluke TuakliStudy Abroad: Milan Exchange – Italy, Summer 2014 & Short-Term – Hong Kong & Dubai (Winter 2016), Cape Town (Spring 2016)


Interests: Media, musical, theatre, social innovation, and gospel choir

Global Mindset goals developed: Encourage more students of color to pursue international experiences

Best memory or story abroad: There are so many! YIKES!


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