Ryan Bacon, a junior finance and risk management major, recounts his European study abroad adventure.

View photos from Ryan’s travels.

Before my trip, I decided to read Rome: A Cultural, Visual, and Personal History by Robert Hughes, Bust: Greece, The Euro and the Sovereign Debt Crisis by Matthew Lynn, and The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. The Divine Comedy played a huge role when we went to the Vatican for the sole reason that many of the major frescoes were depictions from Dante’s Inferno. Plus, Dante’s Inferno was a required read for my high school, so there was a nice base to start with.

At the Vatican, one of the more popular frescoes painted by Michelangelo, “The Last Judgment,” was by far the most powerful portrait of humanity that I’ve yet to see. Dante’s Divine Comedy dealt with the many levels of hell and Michelangelo dedicated almost 25 percent of the Sistine Chapel’s altar to Dante’s work. The fresco in the Sistine Chapel depicted such images as the farrier, Charon, who transported the souls of the damned, as well as Minos, a figure who determined your punishment as well as which circle of hell you would forever belong to.

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Right now I’m in Marseille, right on the Mediterranean, which is fantastic. I just love the water, so this is heaven for me. I’m studying at a business school here called Euro-Med Management, a new relationship for Butler that two other students and I will be testing out. It was founded and operated by businessmen and women. The classes I’m taking here will mainly focus on international business/geopolitics and finance, as well as a few classes specific to Euro-Med, i.e. The Euro-Mediterranean Management Approach.

And when I’m not in class or doing work, hopefully I’ll be traveling around Europe to places such as Berlin, Prague, Budapest, and a few others.

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 I went to Rome this weekend with friends, so I haven’t had much time to write. My teacher for International Environment & Geopolitics/The Euro-Mediterranean Management Approach is from Spain and has worked for the U.N., the Brazilian government, and plenty of other international institutions. He has frequently told us that the classes we take now are essential for a successful future, but the probability that we’ll remember exactly what was talked about is slim to none. However, the relationships and travel experiences we embark on now will last a lifetime. To soak up as many different cultures as humanly possible will lead to a life full of great friends and stories that never end.

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