The first few weeks of classes were very interesting and different from what I experience at Pitt. At Pitt, the classes are very structured, with the expectations explicitly stated and a clear-cut timeline of when assignments are due. However, in Italy, there is a much looser approach. Although the classes are designed to be more structured like American classes, the Italian professors put their own twist on them. The classes are much more conversational, and many of my professors use real-life examples from their own companies and life experience. I feel more engaged in the discussions and more inclined to offer my own input, something I rarely do at Pitt. Class discussion is much more celebrated and appreciated here—more so than just being a participation grade.
My classes only meet once a week for 3 hours. We get coffee breaks, which is greatly appreciated. Also, one of my professors brings us a new type of bread to try each class as a way to introduce us to Italian cuisine. The topics we discuss are on a more global level, focusing on the world as a whole, rather than only America. Learning about global business while being abroad gives me a new perspective on topics I have learned about in Pittsburgh and challenges me to think in new ways.
Midterm week snuck up on us quickly, because time has been flying here. The weekend before exams, I found a café that overlooked the Duomo and had the BEST sandwiches, so it was hard to be upset about studying. Although the course concepts are still challenging at times, I felt as though all the class discussions helped reinforce the concepts, so when it came time to study, I merely had to read over my notes and felt confident about the test. Many times at Pitt, we are expected to know lots of topics we have never talked about in class, so studying many extra hours is the key to getting an A. Here in Italy, the professors go over concepts from the book with examples from their lives that stick with you and help you understand in a more meaningful way. Overall, many of the business concepts we have discussed are the same, but applied with a global perspective.