Nel bel mezzo della Galleria di Milano

Learning about Luxury Goods at ABC Production in Milan

I really liked ABC Production’s presentation on luxury goods. Beforehand, I didn’t know anything about marketing real luxury goods, or expect there to be much difference between marketing strategies of normal and luxury goods. However, I was mistaken and quickly began to understand all of the strategies mentioned in the presentation. In general, it seems like the traditional rules are reversed for the marketing of luxury goods. The ABC Production representatives mentioned that the first difference in marketing real luxury goods is that the brand doesn’t have to worry about positioning their company; which is one of the initial factors one would have to consider with normal goods. The most surprising difference to me was when selling a real luxury good, these companies don’t care about the customers’ wishes or demands.  At first this seems like a destructive strategy, but according to the customer behavior psychology, it actually adds more glamour and exclusivity to real luxury goods.

Another characteristic I learned about marketing real luxury goods is that the role of advertising is not to sell the products, but rather to create “the dream” and build excitement. Knowing the purpose and aim of the advertisement is very important because it shapes the way the content is presented, and can send confusing messages if not defined clearly. Normal brands  usually use celebrities to elevate the prestige of their products by attaching them to the celebrity’s fame. However, the speakers at ABC highlighted the fact that real luxury goods avoid attaching celebrities to the image of their brand. The reason behind this is the image of the brand is perceived higher than that of celebrities. Real luxury brands tend to attach their brand to nature instead;  because nature is looked upon as being perfect and powerful.  Also, an important aspect of marketing real luxury brands is directing the audience of the advertising to everyone, not just the targeted customers. The value of the brand is known to all and not only to those who can afford it. Holding closed events, where only very limited number of people have access, also adds to the mystery and success of such brands.

Another shocking marketing tactic luxury goods use is to purposefully making it difficult for customers to buy the brand. The speakers of ABC Production even shared that real luxury brands typically have waiting lists orders. These companies also challenge their customers for the product by limiting the number of shops. These tactics are all done purposefully to add to the brand glamour and scarcity. Real luxury brands also try to protect the customer who can afford the product from fans who can’t afford it. They accomplish that by separating the shops that sell the products from other souvenir shops. For example, Ferrari and Mercedes have separate shops; those who sell the cars and others who sell souvenirs and accessories related to their brand. The souvenirs shops also contribute to the marketing of the brand by adding to the glamour and feeding the dream of owning an esteemed luxury product like Ferrari.


By: Maha Shawki, 2014 Forum-Nexus Alumnae

Maha Sayed


Visiting Rhodes, Greece

Rhodes was by far my favorite city on all accounts.

The locals I met were really kind and helpful. Compared to other nations, I found the Greeks were much more comfortable speaking English, and happy to help us learn Greek words. I also enjoyed hearing about many locals’ lives; I learned that many of them hold highly influential jobs during the winter months but work fun touristy jobs in the summer months. My friends and I even befriended a few locals right here at the Sheraton Resort! The weather is absolutely perfect here during these summer months and everyone seems to be in high spirits. The overall atmosphere in Greece is great!

The nearby Old Town in Rhodes is a really fun place to visit. There are so many shops and restaurants – it’s impossible to be bored. There are many unique things to be found there. Old Town is especially beautiful with all of the old walls and landmarks still in place. It’s fascinating to see and feel the history of a specific region, and appreciate the beautiful and strong architecture of the ancient structures. That is one characteristic that I miss out on by living in such a young nation.

I also thoroughly enjoy the history of Greece. I’ve always had a strong interest in Greek Mythology and the culture of people at that time; so I love being able to go to some of these same places and see things that I’ve only read about. I love how proud the Greeks are of their history. For example, a statue of Colossus used to protect the city of Rhodes, and all ships entering the harbor had to sail under the statute. Even though he only stood for 70 years, and was unfortunately damaged in a 226 B.C. earthquake, his image is still very prevalent. Colossus is preserved on key chains, posters, models, postcards – you name it.

Besides hiking in Chamonix, the adventurous activities in Rhodes were my favorite. On the way to Lindos (on the other side of the island),  we learned that mountain goats inhabit the island everywhere. My friends and I got to hang out with eight goats for a bit. Once we reached Lindos, it felt like classic Greece to me. Lindos has a gorgeous bay with the traditional white buildings on an acropolis. The beach was fantastic with beautiful sand, and the sea water so clear and warm.

During my time with Forum-Nexus, I most looked forward to Greece, and it was so amazing to finally be there. It was amazing to look out at the sea and see the Turkish mountains right from our hotel. I love Rhodes and hope to explore Greece more one day!

By: Olivia Molof, 2014 Forum-Nexus Alumnae Olivia Molof


Forum Europe 2015 Packing Tips

We are only a few weeks from our European summer abroad beginning! Here is a guide in preparing and packing for the Forum-Nexus summer, recommended by alumni. Feel free to customize this list of recommendations to your own personal needs.

Packing for Europe: Essential

  • Clothing

-Casual attire for sightseeing, traveling, nightlife

-Casual professional attire for class

-Business casual attire for professional visits (recommended 8 outfits)

-One nice outfit for graduation ceremony in Rhodes

-Active attire for swimming, exercising, etc.

-Comfortable walking shoes

-Comfortable dress shoes

-Tennis shoes

-1 light jacket (tip:bring a rain jacket for multi-purpose ware)

*Keep in mind there will be laundromats at most stops to wash clothing*

  • Toiletries:

-tooth brush/tooth paste

-hair brush/comb

-contact/glasses care

-Advil/Tylenol and any prescriptions

-razor/shaving cream

-straightener/curling iron


-body wash*

-feminine products (girls)*

*Most toiletries will be available at local markets and stores. Save room and pack light!

  • Class supplies:

-One notebook/binder with paper

-Writing utensils

-Required textbooks

  • Miscellaneous:

-Converters/Adapters for all electronic items

-Charges for electronics

-Money converted to Euros

-One bag/backpack/purse


-Copies of credit cards, IDs, etc.

Packing for Europe: Non-Essential

-Shower shoes (rubber flip flops)

-A small fold up umbrella

-Fold up plastic bag for grocery shopping



-1 hat for shade while walking around and sightseeing

-Laptop/Tablet/iPad recommended for classwork and personal use

-Hand sanitizer


-Neck pillow for travel

-Portable charger/battery pack

-Water bottle for refilling

-Travel journal

-Laundry detergent packets (or these can be purchased)

-iPod/MP3 player

A few things to remember:

Each student is permitted one suitcase and one side bag. Please reference the Forum-Nexus Pre-Orientation Summer Packet for weight and height guidelines. Pack light! You will be responsible for carrying your own luggage. Also, save room for souvenirs and gifts purchased. And finally, don’t sweat it! Feel free to ask any Forum-Nexus staff members additional questions or tips about packing.



Tomorrowland, Belgium

My favorite experience during my time in Europe with Forum-Nexus was attending Tomorrowland in Boom, Belgium.  Tomorrowland is the biggest and most popular music festival in Europe; which attracts over 140,000 people from around the world. The festival is a collection of electric and house music from all over Europe; including DJs such as Avicii, David Guetta, Tiesto, Bassnector and many others. I found Tomorrowland to be a culturally unique experience because of the way so many nationalities are brought together, united through music and the simple joy of being there.

My decision to attend the festival was entirely spontaneous, booking a ticket only two days before. My friends and I  left the main group in Rome and departed for Belgium at 4 a.m. Before arriving, we backpacked to a large town called Mechelen, which we absolutely fell in love with. Mechelen was old and quaint, with beautiful churches and castles. The natives were extremely welcoming, despite the obvious culture and language barriers.

Belgians  are an interesting mix, and everyone seemed very happy all the time. Our hotel was located in a vibrant market square where people were singing and playing volleyball. It was mildly confusing. To get into the spirit of Tomorrowland we stopped in a shop and bought a box of wine and paint glitter—a festival ritual. The bus to the festival was long and hot, but we barely cared; we felt so blessed to be a part of this experience.

The festival began at 1 p.m., so we spent a good hour or so just exploring the grounds—over 12 stages. The grounds were designed to replicate a fairytale or crazy dream: with brightly colored houses, little bridges over lakes with fountains and endless corners packed with people all dancing to different music. The main stage could have been a work of art. It was gold and silver, with hundreds of moving faces, along with fire and smoke. The people crowding the stage were from every country imaginable; everyone had a different flag representing his or her country or city. I have never seen so many nationalities all united in one place before, and I don’t think there was a better way to experience the meshing of multiple cultures. Each small group was speaking a different language, holding a different flag and eating different foods; yet they were all singing the same songs, dancing and embracing each other with so much warmth and happiness. I made many friends throughout the night: people from France, Germany, America, Spain and many more places. Some individuals that really stood out to me were the Australians, who were without a doubt some of the most passionate, funny, and joyful people I have ever met.


We saw eight sets total, and each were incredible. The amount of work each performer put into their shows was phenomenal.  I developed a deep appreciation for the talent electronic music actually requires. The DJs had such a passion for their work, which was clear in the way they would close their eyes and become completely absorbed in their music. I also have a newfound respect for the amount of technical work it takes to create such a beautiful and captivating show.

I wanted to share about Tomorrowland because it was the single most culturally uniting experience I have ever experienced. The slogan of Tomorrowland is “we are one world,” which I think was proved true in one night. The collision of language, customs, food, dress and underlying attitudes really opened my eyes to the idea of even though we are all from different places, people are similar and we as humans belong to one global culture.

*The Tomorrowland Belgium festival will be held July 24-26. Check out their website for ticket sales, festival line up, and more info: *

By: Kat Holstrom, 2014 Forum-Nexus Alumnae

Katrina Holstrom



A weekend in Pompeii

After my week in Rome,  I went on to visit the city of Pompeii, Italy. Like Rome, this ancient city was built around the B.C. era, and was once a great trade center for Europe due to its location on the water. In 79 A.D., Volcano Vesuvius and an earthquake, devastated Pompeii;  killing a great amount of people and damaging parts of the city. Little did the Pompeians know there was more danger on the way. The next day, many were suffocated from the gas and explosions of the volcano. Vesuvius covered the entire city; allowing for other people to uncover the ruins decades later.

I was amazed by the size of the city, as well as the beautiful detail in the Pompeian architecture. I learned a great amount of information about the city of Pompeii and its people during my two-hour tour. For instance, during this ancient time there were over 400 shops that covered the streets of Pompeii. The owners lived above their shops while rich people had big houses- one for the summer and another for the winter. This city had once contained spas, swimming pools, and  brothels.

The city of Pompeii was very educational and well worth the visit. Uncovering this city has allowed visitors to understand the way of life during the A.D. era and expand European International IQ as a whole.

Abigail Morris

By: Abigail Morris, 2014 Forum-Nexus Alumnae


Visiting FAO of the United Nations

Professional visits with Forum-Nexus help students gain a real-world perspective of international organizations operating on a global scale. As an individual who has received over five years of experience in applying theoretical applications to real world situations, I found the professional visits realistic and educational. Specifically, the visits to the United Nations and partnering organizations were the most enlightening for me. I also gained a deep insight from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

As a Ph.D. student, I have spent sufficient time in deciding a specific field to become an expert in. Through my journey of higher education, I have established a passion for policy-making in the government sector. As an official candidate on the 2014 general election ballot for the state of Ohio Representative of District 10, I naturally found curiosity in the United Nations. The FAO grasped my attention in relevance to one of my campaign platforms – which focuses on decreasing Cleveland’s hunger percentage, poverty level (32% of the population is below the poverty line), and food insecurity (of the 32%, elderly and families make up 79% of those who are seeking assistance with securing food) (U.S. Conference of Mayors 2013 Status Report on Hunger and Homelessness).

During my time at FAO, I was able to add another organization to my archive of resources in helping to achieve future goals of reducing hunger and food insecurities in Ohio. The FAO has access to a multitude of databases and resources that can provide insight and additional knowledge on plausible strategies, and policy-making ideas to assist in the successful fulfillment of those strategies. The presenter at FAO, Allison Smalls, provided realistic challenges to tackling hunger; such as dilemmas with quality and the use of technology.  Meeting the challenges with carrying out the organization’s mission and goals is most beneficial. Challenges provide a realistic view of a real world application, which are usually filled with multiple challenges. Personally, I found great significance in this professional visit. I was able to gain necessary insight on attacking a problem that not only affects my community, but is also a global issue. FAO reminded me that a community’s ability to solve a problem locally can lead to solving a global issue.

By: Danielle Shepherd,  2014 Forum-Nexus Alumnae

Danielle Shepherd


Europe for First Timers

Traveling is without a doubt one of life’s greatest pleasures. It’s hard to fully prepare for your first European experience. The beauty, cultures, people, food, and sites are unparalleled, and each country is more unique than the other. Transitioning into another culture can be a little intimidating, but don’t sweat it! Here are a few helpful things to know for your first time abroad in Europe:

  1. Water is not free. Except for the very occasional public water fountain, water will cost you. There is no such thing as a free glass of water at a restaurant. You will be charged just as if you were getting a soda drink.  However, when you do buy water it will be high quality and deliciously refreshing!

  1. European public transportation rocks. Between metros, buses, cabs, trains, and planes, there are so many affordable options in exploring European cities. The most common mode of transportation is usually the metro.  Do not be intimidated by foreign metro stations! Each rail/course is color coded and numbered; making the journey a very organized process. Before setting out, look at your current city’s map and pick your destination. Head to the nearest metro stop (there’s usually one on every corner) and follow the closest colored railed and numbered stop to your selected destination. Some transportation companies even offer student discounts; be sure to look into that before purchasing your ticket!

  1. Knowing a little language will go a long way. Okay, so learning five different languages in a few months is not exactly realistic. But, it is wise to learn a few common phrases in the language of your travel destination. A few important phrases and words to know are hello, please, thank you, where is the restroom, yes/no, goodbye, how do I get to_____ , how much is this, and what is the wifi password? Make a little cheat sheet on your phone for easy reference. Putting forth effort to use the host language will help you navigate the city and culture more quickly, as well as make the locals more receptive and friendly towards you.

  1. You don’t have to carry your passport on you at all times. Traveling from country to country, yes, but while out exploring, it’s best to leave your passport safely tucked away in a suitcase. If you carry it around all the time, you risk the chance of pickpocketers stealing it. The only time you’ll be asked for a passport is when crossing various borders or taking a flight. You can travel around with just a copy or picture on your phone!

  1. An old-school paper map is always useful. Yes, maps are a bit touristy, but never underestimate how easy it is to get lost in a popular city, especially if there is a language barrier. Keep a map in your pocket or bag for your wandered-too-far emergencies. It is also a practical tool in getting to the attraction points easily, which are usually labeled on the map. This is also another great way to save on cellular data charges by not using maps on your smartphone!

  1. Be prepared to plug your devices into European power outlets. The outlets in Europe are much different from American outlets. They’re shaped differently and they host a 220 volt charge. If you are an American traveling abroad, you must purchase an outlet adapter. This may seem like a well-known fact, but it’s usually one of the most forgotten items to pack! Outlet adapters are cheap and a good investment. The price for an adapter ranges anywhere from $5-$20. Purchase a universal adapter to use for future travels in any country or continent. You also must read the tech specs on chargers and all appliances to see if they can be plugged to a 220 volt power outlet. If you only buy an adapter that does not have a voltage converter and the charger is not equipped for 220v (but only for 110/20v, which is the standard in the US), it will burn your device! Purchase a converter and adapter just to be safe.

  1. Less restaurants and more food from local markets will save you some money! Just like any other country, markets sell much more affordable goods than restaurants or street vendors. Instead of spending a few euros for a glass of water, get a 1 liter of bottled water for .87 euro! Grocery markets are also a great place to stock up on small snacks like granola bars, candy, crackers, chips, and fruit for a very low cost! Having a small snack on you while exploring or traveling is always a smart idea. It’s also very interesting to browse foreign grocery stores; there are so many different goods sold!  *Note, most grocery stores in Europe charge for bags to carry out your goods. Bring your own bag or backpack to save you the hassle and waste less plastic!*

  1. Public restrooms are a rarity, and 99% of the time not free. It is considered rude to walk into a place of business and ask to use the restroom without purchasing something first, much like many places in the U.S., but taken much more seriously. Some places even lock their doors to prevent public use. Usually, shopping malls and train stations are the only places that have large public restrooms. These are very clean and well-kept by a bathroom attendant, but it will cost you anywhere from 1-3 euro to get in. Save your money and remember to use the restroom when at a restaurant and especially before leaving your hotel or hostel.

  1. Street performers are to be taken seriously. In the bigger tourist cities, it is common to see many street performers sprinkled all around large attraction sites. The skill sets and talents widely range, but they all are dedicated to their chosen profession. Whatever you do, do not try to make them break character or seemingly mock them or else you will greatly offend them. Also, it is very rude to take a picture with them without tipping them first. To combat this, they usually put some prop in front of their face until you give them money. Drop .50 euro in and they will spring to life for an amazing picture to show to friends and family!

Remember: traveling is about learning and experiencing a different culture than of your own. Don’t focus on comparing one city to your home; that will take away from the trip. Embrace the beauty, uniqueness, and customs of every country and city. Take lots of pictures, journal your experiences, and soak in as much as you can while abroad. After all, you can only visit Europe for the first time once. Happy travels!