Students Nicolas Santeriano and Devin Thrasher, along with Greg Rafal, a program manager for undergraduate programs in the Center for Global Business at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, write about a short-term study abroad course to the United Kingdon, France and Italy over winter break.
In January 2018, Smith School accounting students traveled to the United Kingdom, France and Italy on the Accounting’s Future, Present and Past short-term study abroad course. Led by accounting professors Jim McKinney and David Weber, the course looks at the historical foundations of accounting and includes visits to many large accounting firms in New York, Washington, D.C., and Europe. The course also fulfills a New York State accounting research requirement for the CPA exam. Students were able to visit some of the most influential financial cities in Europe, such as London and Paris. In Italy, they visited Sansepolcro, known as the birthplace of double book-keeping; Venice, where Luca Pacioli first published his book, Summa de arithmetica; Florence; and Rome. With over 20 visits in less than three weeks the students had a busy (yet impactful) agenda.
McKinney and Weber led 21 students abroad on this course. For many students, this was their first time in Europe. They were excited to see some of the iconic sites in-person such as Buckingham Palace, the Louvre, the Colosseum, and Vatican City. Though the cultural sites were a highlight of the program, the major focus was the visits to various accounting firms and organizations.
Speakers offered beneficial insight on how to maneuver in an international business setting. For junior accounting major; Nicolas Santeriano, one of the most memorable experiences was hearing from Jake Bernstein, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner who spoke to students about business ethics and the Panama Papers. Students were able to learn first-hand from professionals how accounting is regulated in other countries and how some of the most renowned firms work with international and local audit standards. “Opportunities like this are incredibly beneficial to us as students and special to this program. It was thanks to our professors Jim McKinney and David Weber that any of this was possible, and the lessons learned from them are invaluable to our future success,” says Santeriano.
Accounting’s Future, Present and Past is a fantastic education abroad experience but also an experience that helps students develop professionally. “In addition to the educational benefits, making new friendships, exploring new cultures and countries, I view this course as an employment vehicle - with all our New York and Washington, D.C., large accounting firm recruiters being made aware of the participants, receiving their resumes and at times interacting with them,” said McKinney.
While the students have returned to the Smith School for the spring semester, their program is not quite over. In addition to a few visits in Washington, D.C., the students participated in the 2018 Global Showcase, a poster exhibition for all returned short-term study abroad students at the Smith School.
For more information about study abroad programs, visit the Center for Global Business website: http://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/global.