May Term 2015: Q&A with marketing major Blake Willadsen

Which May Term did you take? 

I participated in the Merchants of Venice:  Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Northern Italy May Term course.

Why did you choose this particular course? 

As a marketing major, I thought being able to see the stuff that we talk about in class put into action would be really rewarding. It was a really great group of people involved with the trip, and Italy is a breathtaking location. 

What was your most riveting experience in Italy? 

It’s hard to pick one thing that stood out as the most riveting. Every day brought a new and exciting experience. Something that I personally enjoyed a lot was getting to see “The Last Supper” in person. The mural is surprisingly large in person, and it is incredible to see the detail and work that was put into a masterpiece. 

In your opinion, what are the advantages of taking a May Term as opposed to studying abroad for a semester? Disadvantages? 

May Term gives you a unique opportunity to get out of the U.S. and not take a lot of time away from Simpson pursuing your degree. The trips tend to be more structured, and that allows for you to plan ahead and really take in as much as you can during that period. Unfortunately, that doesn’t allow for a lot of depth of exploration, and you have to spend a lot more time traveling than you would like to. The 17 days we had overseas seemed to fly right by. 

What have you learned the most from this experience? 

I really got a better understanding of how much different other cultures can be. At first when we arrived in Milan, it felt like we were in a whole other world, but once you start to talk to people it really isn’t that much different. You get a good sense of perspective and a better appreciation for other cultures and the culture that we live in. 

Blake Willadsen is an upcoming junior and a marketing major. His full documentation of the trip can be found at