Summer School Has Never Been So Fashionable: Fashion Marketing Study Abroad Student Experience

A cityscape view taken by Mark Bosma.

Today we feature Mark Bosma, a senior English major from Vernon, NJ (Sussex County) who will continue his studies as a graduate student this fall after he earned his bachelor’s degree this month. This story is the second of a three-part series where Mark will be featured based on his activities and campus involvement. Part 2 focuses on Mark’s adventures while traveling abroad summer 2022 for a summer course called Fashion Marketing in London, Paris, and Italy. 

Why did you choose to study fashion marketing and communication abroad?

I chose this program because it was a traveling program that went to multiple cities, and I have always loved fashion. We went to some of the most famous fashion capitals in the world. This had nothing to do with my major, but I had an interest in the content, and as soon as I saw the locations and the itinerary, I knew this was the program for me.

Photo taken by Mark Bosma while in London, UK.
Photo taken by Mark Bosma while in London, UK.

Where did you travel to while studying abroad and how long were you gone?

I went to London for seven nights, Paris for five nights, Milan for four nights, and Florence for five nights. We also made day trips to Bologna and Lake Como.

Did you learn anything about yourself while you were abroad? Did you come to a realization while you were away? 

I learned that I could make friends in any given situation. I met the most amazing people abroad, and even though we did not know each other beforehand, it truly feels like I have known them for years. I still talk to people from my program and consider some of them to be close friends. I love traveling and want to live somewhere out of NJ as soon as possible. I honestly did miss my friends and family back home.

Mark Bosma in Paris, France with abroad friends, Caroline and Natalie.
Mark Bosma in Paris, France with abroad friends, Caroline and Natalie.

How did you find out about this specific program?

I met with the study abroad advisor here at Rowan, and she provided me with some websites to look through with all the different programs that providers offer. I took time to weigh all the options and to look through them, and she helped me narrow down my options while picking.

Picture of Mark Bosma's meal while in Florence, Italy.
Picture of Mark Bosma’s meal while in Florence, Italy.

What was your favorite part of your time in London?

I loved the fashion museums and loved the city life in London. There were so many fun touristy things to do. I also saw one of my favorite musicals on the West End, which was terrific. I also met some other students in another fashion study abroad program that were staying in London. This also was our first stop, so it was the most change, and we were all just trying to make friends and do things together. I truly loved London so much. There were so many markets and shops we went to, and I also got to see the dress that Harry Styles wore on the cover of Vogue, which was an absolute slay! We also went to Mamma Mia! the Party, saw the show, and had a 5-course meal and dance party. One of my favorite things I have ever done!

What was your favorite part of your time in Paris?

Paris was so much fun. I loved the crepes! One of my favorite memories was having a picnic at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower and singing and dancing our hearts out. I also met up with one of my best friends from childhood, whom I had not seen in years because she was also abroad and on a day trip to Paris. I also bought a Louis Vuitton wallet and will cherish it for the rest of my life. One of my fav sights we got to see was the Arc de Triomphe. There were so many steps, but breathtaking once we got to the top and saw all of Paris.

Picture of Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.
Picture of Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.

What was your favorite part of your time in Milan?

My favorite part was walking around all the luxury brand stores and visiting the Duomo. We were able to make a day trip to Bologna and Lake Como. Lake Como was absolutely beautiful. I loved getting to eat Italian food and experiencing the Italian culture.

What was your favorite part of your time in Florence?

Florence felt like I was in a movie. Everything I expected from Italy came true in Florence. It was absolutely beautiful. We ate so much delicious food and had gelato twice a day, at least for five nights. We got to go to the local markets, walk around the city, and experience all the city had to offer. My outfits were the best here, and I had so much fun walking around. At night there would be people in the streets playing instruments and dancing, which was so fun to see. Also, the last night I cried on the bridge in the middle of the city while eating gelato, and then we all took pictures in a photo booth before saying goodbye to each other.

Picture of the Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence, Italy.
Picture of the Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence, Italy.

What was your favorite city overall? Why?

I would say Florence was my favorite city. I loved the amazing food and the environment that Florence had. It was so breathtaking to walk around and have everything so close. The food was just so incredible. The final stop before going home was when I had to say goodbye to the whole experience of studying abroad, which was very hard. I balled my eyes on the middle of a bridge overlooking the city because I did not want to leave. I genuinely mean it when I say it was the most beautiful and stunning place I have ever been. I still am in awe when I look through the pictures and think about my experience.

If you could change one thing about your experience, what would you change?

I wish I had stayed longer and solidified my group faster. There were many times we did not know exactly what to do, so by the end, we were pros at making plans and packing everything in. It was a lot, but I truly loved every second of my abroad experience. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Picture of the ceiling in Palace of Versailles in France.
Picture of the ceiling in Palace of Versailles in France.

Did you experience any culture shock within any of the cities you visited?

I did not experience any culture shock, to be honest. Many people in the places we went spoke English. It was helpful with directions and such to have phones and to look up how to say things. I have family in Italy and am very familiar with Italian culture because a large part of my family speaks the language, and I am often around it.

What did your final project for the program consist of? What key takeaways did you have from this educational experience?

Our final project was to compare our favorite British, French, and Italian luxury brands. I have a little experience with marketing and finding information like marketing strategies and target audiences. I got to learn marketing techniques and luxury brand marketing in the major cities it occurs.

Outside garden of the Palace of Versailles in France.
Outside garden of the Palace of Versailles in France.

How did Rowan prepare you for your abroad experience? Did you feel like you had enough support prior to leaving, while being there, and after coming back?

I felt highly prepared before going abroad. The study abroad advisor was so helpful, from helping me pick my program to if I had any sill questions, so she was always there for it all. We also had a pre-departure meeting before everybody studying abroad could get together to get all the info we needed and go over everything in one space. This is also where I met my study-abroad best friend, and we got to support each other through the whole process of preparing to go, which was a lot. I always felt like I could ask questions and was guided throughout the process.

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Story by:

Natalie DePersia, senior public relations major

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