Alissa Mamonova

imageAlissa Mamonova is a Russian-born, American-raised girl in her mid-20s who recently had the experience of a lifetime in Rome, which has definitively changed her mindset and view of the world.

What brought you to Rome?
Having grown up in between two cultures, I felt open and eager to venture out beyond my comfort zone and spend a year living and studying in the Eternal City. I chose to study in Rome to pursue my MBA at the Swiss School of Management program. I chose this program for various reasons, the main one being location, that I could complete my degree in one year, and that it was affordable.

What has been the biggest challenge?
No words need to be said about how unique, incredible, and unforgettable Rome is as a city. However, upon my arrival, I was struck by the minor glitches that Italians are used to, but that the typical American has forgotten – a slow, unsympathetic, and bureaucratic police system (with which you are required to register once you arrive); a complete lack of bus and train punctuality, and a generally uninterested service staff, regardless of the type of business you enter.

What would you recommend for newcomers?
Find as many contacts as possible and ask for their assistance without any embarrassment, as most foreigners have gone through the exact same issues and have a wealth of knowledge, experience, and are generally willing to help the shocked and wide-eyed ‘newbies’. The support of my classmates and SSM assistants in those first weeks was a huge blessing, and it would have taken me much longer to get settled in without their help.

Tell us a little more about the MBA program…
SSM has teachers from all fields of business, including a public relations specialist, a former Wall Street trader, and a highly inspirational professor that has her own successful life coaching company.

How would you compare Italy to the US?
The best way I have ever heard anyone describe Italy was: “Life in America is like a straight, concrete road. You drive along steadily, watching existence pass you by. Life in Italy is like driving on an unpaved country road. There may be some bumps along the way, but you’ll have a lot more fun in the process, and still always arrive to your destination.” And so, that would be the ultimate advice I could offer anyone moving to Rome – just hold tight and enjoy the ride, because it is the kind of experience that you will still be telling your grandkids about many years from now.


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