Florence here I come!


My name is Katie Shankroff and I will be traveling to Florence, Italy for the next four months. I will be blogging about my adventures throughout Europe a few times a month, including pictures of my experiences. I’m going into my second semester of junior year at Pitt as a finance major and Italian studies minor. Before college, I lived in a small town in Pennsylvania and decided to try out city life for a few years, which brought me to Pittsburgh. You could say I grew tired of getting stuck behind horse and buggies on the roads, but I’ve come to realize that Pittsburgh drivers aren’t much better! Regardless, I consider the city my home and can’t imagine my college life elsewhere.

I’ve had my heart set on studying abroad since my brother, Jordan, spent some time in the Netherlands during his undergrad years at Lebanon Valley College. Hearing of his adventures throughout Europe was incredible, and I wanted to experience it for myself. I don’t remember the exact moment I acquired this fondness for Italian culture that inspired my Italian minor, but throughout my semesters of Italian courses I knew Florence had to be my destination for studying abroad. When I looked into programs through the Global Business Institute, I discovered a Spring program in Florence and didn’t even think twice before applying. Now, I can’t wait for Florence to be my home and to experience the culture firsthand, rather than through my Italian professor. While I’m abroad, I hope to be open to experiences and become a more adaptable person, professionally and personally. My goal is to completely immerse myself in genuine Italian culture by practicing my Italian with the locals, trying new foods, finding my go-to café for my morning coffee, and taking time to admire the beautiful artwork scattered throughout the city.

I’m overwhelmed with a ton of different feelings with my last few weeks in the states – excitement, nervousness, and a bit of fomo. I know this opportunity only comes once in a lifetime, and I can’t even begin to describe my excitement. However, it’s also bittersweet saying goodbye to my friends and family for four months. I know communication is going to be difficult, and I will be missing birthdays and holidays that are usually spent with my loved ones. At the end of the day, I’m sure all the missed celebrations can be made up for with a nice bottle of Italian wine when I come home. Today marks 20 days until I leave for the journey of a lifetime, and I can’t wait to catch everyone up when I arrive!