As a leading professor with a top university in the Gulf, Patrick is bringing American business knowledge and global vision to upgrade local business education. Originally from Maryland, Patrick spent several years based in Europe before making his home in UAE. He earned his MBA in Italy. To would-be study abroad participants, Patrick says, “Get a passport. Buy a ticket. And, go! Life is short, folks! And, the world is big and beautiful! Remarkable adventures and special people await!?”
When did you move first abroad?
I left the United States as more than a vacationer for the first time in 1998 when I moved to the Veneto region of Italy to pursue an MBA. I spent a year there while studying and another two in order to work with a local Italian company. I haven’t looked back since!
Did living in Italy change how you viewed the U.S.?
Since first moving to Italy in 1998, I have also lived in the United Kingdom and in the United Arab Emirates. I have spent a total of 10 years living abroad. In that period of time my thinking has shifted, radically. While I have an immense amount of respect for my home country I have become transnational in the sense that I now feel at home in a variety of places. This change in my thinking has made me more open-minded and appreciative of the 95% of the world’s population that lives outside the United States. It’s also led me to wish that more Americans would take the leap so that we can grow to be less suspicious of foreigners and broader in the way that we approach solving the myriad social problems that persist at home.
How did you find life in Italy as an American?
In my first week of this journey towards becoming transnational I was exploring Italy. I had gone from Milan to Venice to Rome and to Florence before returning to the Veneto to begin my studies. Each of those places is incredibly beautiful in ways that are truly distinct. What struck me was the hospitality that was, consistently, extended to me. In each place, I was treated as a friend and was offered home-cooked meals and told stories about life in Italy. I had never experienced such a tremendous degree of hospitality prior to that time. Even more so, I was struck by the extent to which the everyday Italian was aware of everyday life in America (the good and the bad). I can recall as if it happened yesterday having been approach by an elderly man while standing in a Florentine square. He grabbed me by the cheeks and said “Siamo fratelli! Siamo fratelli!” before shaking my hand, kissing me on the cheek, and wishing me well before walking away. I later found out from new Italian friends that he wanted me to know that we are all “brothers” and that I should know that throughout my time in the country. That was in 1998. I will never forget that moment!