My personal development during my time abroad is centered entirely on the idea of expanding my comfort zone. Throughout college, I’ve always tried to put myself in challenging situations that would help me grow as a student and an individual. None of these challenges have even approached my experience in London.
On top of starting a new semester of classes and a new internship, going abroad involves adapting to a lot of the little things you take advantage of back home. Making new friends, learning a new city, commuting on the tube, budgeting more carefully (that exchange rate—yikes), and dealing with homesickness are all challenges I never had to face at all or to the same extent while at Pitt.
As a result of facing these challenges, I feel as though I’ve become more mature in terms of “adult” responsibilities. This semester I was able to juggle environmental adjustments, as much travel and exploration as I could fit in, and still perform well in my classes and at my internship. I think being able to do this without being constantly overwhelmed is an encouraging sign for when I again have to juggle a number of different challenges as an adult after graduation.
Apart from everything I’ve gotten to learn about and explore of the UK, Italy, Ireland and a few other places, I think what I’ve learned about my own behavior is the most valuable personal component I’ve gained from this experience. If you told me four years ago that I had to travel around Europe on my own, I would have been terrified. Now that I’ve done that, it makes me wonder how I’ll be able to surprise myself four years from today.
My work and personal experience in London is something that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Not only has it given me a greater appreciation for what it means to work in a “global economy,” it’s inspired me to pursue further travel to Europe in the future and to approach new situations with the preparedness and flexibility that was often required of me this spring.
This semester taught me a lot about personal responsibility outside of the classroom. Anyone can get on a plane and fly wherever their money will take them, but it takes real care and planning to coordinate travel, accommodations, food, and itineraries around a busy school and work schedule. This kind of juggling is something I’d never had to do in my life before, and it’s a skill I think will really benefit me in any future work position I pursue.
Ultimately, I feel as though my experience abroad has given me a number of global competencies that I can take with me into any interview or workplace: communication across cultures, time management, organization, adaptability, and willingness to grow. Together, this is a skill-set of someone who would be highly desirable in any business setting, international or otherwise. Today I’m a better problem solver, communicator, and learner than I was four months ago; and I have London to thank for that.
Lastly, I would like to thank the benefactors of the James Tafel Scholarship endowment, which has in part funded my time abroad. My experience here, while feeling too short, has been nothing short of life-changing. I have seen and discovered things about the world and myself that I never would have had the opportunity to if not in part thanks to this scholarship. The amount awarded to me has gone a long way in furthering my higher education and helping to shape me into the globally cognizant and mindful individual that Pitt Business has striven to foster.