Donating a large chunk of my summer to study abroad experience was something I thought long and hard about, but as I look back at my trip to London one week after coming back, I can honestly say it was one of the best experiences of my life and I am thrilled to have done it.
The GBI London: Accounting Issues program gave me an opportunity to grow closer to staff members and students in Pitt’s accounting department, on top of getting informative lessons most of my peers will not have access to, along with interesting site visits that gave me an understanding of the accounting field I lacked going in. Visiting PWC to learn about the new tax laws, EY to learn about auditing on an international level, and the IASB to learn how they develop new standards were among the highlights of my trip. The non-accounting site visits to the Bank of England, Budget Mastermind, and Lloyd’s of London were also interesting in their own ways. Specifically, Lloyd’s of London may have been my favorite site throughout the trip, with so much history around the building and a tour guide who really put everything in perspective.
Beyond the accounting class, my internship was more than worth it. While the work I did at The Langham, London was not too advanced and was merely receiving invoices and keeping track of discounts the hotel gave out, the connections and global awareness I was able to develop with my coworkers proved to be the most beneficial interactions I had to be in the country. Being able to connect to people with the hotel and utilize them throughout my career will be among the largest perks of this study abroad opportunity and will be relevant throughout the coming years.
Living in London was a huge opportunity for personal growth. It was the first time I truly felt as if I was on my own in the world, having to figure out everything for myself. From travelling 3,000 miles from home all by myself to learning how to navigate a giant, foreign city, I was able to develop tremendous amounts of independence and come into my own in the world. These skills will maintain relevancy as I begin to truly navigate the job market and attempt to prove to recruiters that I am worth their time. My experience in London will differentiate myself from most of the people I am competing with and will only benefit me. I am so thankful that Pitt gave me this opportunity, and I highly recommend anyone on the fence of studying abroad to seize the opportunity.