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Patrick Finocchiaro Studies Abroad in Switzerland

Patrick Finocchiaro with his business project group


BEVERLY, Mass. - Endicott men's cross-country rising senior Patrick Finocchiaro. (Salem, N.H.) recently studied abroad in Switzerland. ECGulls caught up with Finocchiaro to find out more about his experience abroad. 

ECGulls: Give us an overall description of your trip.

I decided to enrich my hotel management degree by spending five months at Les Roches Global Hospitality Education in Bluche, Switzerland. The school is located in Bluche village, 2 1/2 hours from the major cities of Milan, Geneva, and Zurich. The village is nestled in the alps in the stylish ski resort area of Crans-Montana, and is only accessible by "funicular," or tram car unless one is willing to drive a mere 40 minutes up winding roads from the closest town of Sierre/Siders. During my entire experience, I visited Geneva, Lausanne/Ouchy, Vevey, Montreaux, Leukerbad, Interlaken, Luzern, Bern, and Zurich. Outside of Switzerland, I went to Lake Maggiore in Northern Italy, Florence, Sicily (two times), and Evian, France. 

ECGulls: Describe your overall study abroad experience.

Studying at Les Roches Global Hospitality Education boasts a rigorous academic schedule. I completed seven courses which totaled 21 credits. In addition to these seven courses, I also completed an integrated project with a group of five colleagues which included the creation of a 114-page business plan for a fictitious winery resort. While at Les Roches, I made long-lasting connections, networks, and friends, I continue to talk to many of them on a daily basis. 

ECGulls: Why would you recommend studying abroad to other students?

Expanding the comfort zone is key. This is a large reason why studying abroad is such an integral part of higher education because it forces a student to balance academics, social, travel, and networking. If I had not studied abroad, I would have never received job offers to work in the wine business for my full-time employment upon graduating Endicott, and would not have been given the opportunity to travel to Paris in January of 2019 for a week of networking with public relations specialists. If you brand yourself well abroad and travel when possible, you can open opportunities that will enrich your personal brand. 

ECGulls: What was the biggest lesson you learned?

For my program specifically in Switzerland, I learned that the word "study" is to be taken seriously in the phrase "study abroad." The academics are to be taken seriously, or there can be major repercussions upon return to Endicott. For me, I worked very hard and sacrificed a few weekend trips to prepare for exams, and I am happy that I did. I excelled academically while in Switzerland, but I worked very hard in order to do so. Bottom line: balance! 

ECGulls: What was your favorite experience?

I really enjoyed visiting the Swiss Riviera on Lake Geneva. I went to Montreaux on a sunny spring day, and I was amazed by the views of the French Alps from across the lake. It was also great to be in the town where one of the most important music festivals is hosted, The Montreaux Jazz Festival. Outside of Switzerland, I returned to my second home multiple times while abroad, in Sicily. I am Sicilian-American, so it was wonderful to interact with my family, see the birthplace of my grandparents, and learn more about the agritourism industry that I will be working in next year.  

ECGulls: Describe the educational side of the program.

As I mentioned above, the education aspect is huge; It must be taken seriously. You are abroad to travel, network, and make new contacts, but the academics cannot be ignored: remember that the grades get transferred back to Endicott! Also, make a relationship with your professors abroad and get your name out there! 

ECGulls: Were there any funny stories from your trip?

The first time I took the "funicular" up to the mountain, all I could think of was the tram snapping and me going straight down the mountain to my untimely demise. Of course, the next day on the funicular with my new colleagues, I decided to tell them this story loudly, which caused other non-students on the funicular to panic that the funicular was actually snapping....yes, more of an awkward experience for me, but I was teased about it for the rest of the semester by my friends.


Following the College's philosophy to "learn by doing" through experiential learning, the study abroad program & its international internships prepare students at Endicott for success by offering alternative academic understanding, social & cultural literacy and life-changing experiences. Through semester-long academic study, faculty-led trips, and/or 3-to-15 week internships abroad, students gain new confidence and self-awareness, and obtain the skills necessary for success in today's economy.

"Globalization is here to stay, and students who want to work in our interconnected global world should study or intern abroad.

Despite the inevitable increasing global competition for jobs, American graduates lack the international experience, language capabilities and cross-cultural communication skills necessary to succeed in the global economy.

Making education abroad a part of their college education is the most effective and accessible means for students to develop needed skills because it pushes a student to get out of her comfort zone to experience another culture, language, environment and education system. It teaches students to appreciate difference and diversity firsthand and enables them to recognize — and then dismiss — stereotypes they may have held about people they had never met.

Learning how to interact with people from other countries and cultures equips future leaders in all sectors to address urgent issues — from curing diseases and finding energy solutions, to fighting terrorism and hunger — shared across borders." 

The Endicott Experience feature aims to highlight the entirety of the student-athletes' experiential learning journey throughout their academic careers. The student-athlete at Endicott is afforded the same opportunities as the general student population at the College as it relates to internships, study abroad, and postgraduate career pursuits. This philosophy mirrors the mission statement of the College which every student is encouraged to take intellectual risks, pursue scholarly and creative interests, contribute to the community, and explore diverse career paths. Read more Endicott Experience features by navigating the links below.   

INTERNSHIP: Fall 2015 | 2014-15 Internships Fall 2016 Semester-Long | Gulls "Learn By Doing" On Winter Break | 442 Student-Athletes Complete Internships During 2016-17 Academic Year
STUDY ABROAD: Women's Lacrosse Teammates Gill and McMahon Study in Dublin, IrelandRyan Healy Studies Abroad in Europe | Studying Abroad as a Student-Athlete at Endicott | James Dwyer Focuses on Opportunities Abroad in Switzerland with Les Roches Global Hospitality | Endicott Student-Athletes Study Abroad in Asia | Holly Erbe Studies Abroad in London, Paris, Amsterdam | Andrea Courtemanche Gains New Perspectives Through Study Abroad Trip | Shelby Elwell Catches Travel Bug From Study Abroad Experiences | Erica Hadad Studies Abroad In Ireland
ACADEMICS: Emily Sharpe and Eric Owens Balance STEM and Sport at Endicott | Daquan Sampson Always Willing To Learn, On The Court & In The Classroom
CAREER OUTCOMES: Internships Lead To Career Outcomes | 2015 Graduates Find Immediate Success in Job MarketThe Relationship Between Athletics & Academia At Endicott 

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(Photo Credit - Patrick Finocchiaro)