It is hard to believe that my program is over and I am back in the United States. The past three weeks have been the best and fastest of my life. I was able to experience four new cities and cultures in Prague, Cesky Krumlov, Budapest, and Krakow. I saw beautiful castles, churches, and bridges. I made new friends that were on my program and some from other countries. I experienced so many new things that I will never forget like making pierogis with a Polish grandmother.
One of the greatest things I got out of my international experience is growth. I grew personally by stepping outside my comfort zone. I communicated with people that did not speak the same language I do, which was a first for me. I had to communicate through hand movements and translators yet was still able to accomplish my goals. I also stepped out of my comfort zone by approaching new people and starting a conversation. Normally, I am not the type of person to just go up to someone, but I was able to make new friends and learn about new cultures by doing so.
Another way I grew was academically. The focus of this program was economics, but I learned so much more than that. I gained knowledge about the politics and history of each city. Growing up I was never that interested in those subjects, but I was so intrigued by them when actually visiting the countries. I had a new found appreciation that was fueled by the lectures from experts from that country and our Pitt professor. I learned how World War II and communism shaped the cities to be what they are today.
The last way I grew was professionally. I want to get into the field of consulting, which requires a lot of travelling. On the job, you must be able to quickly adapt to the new surroundings to perform the task at hand. Pitt in Prague and Krakow was a great experience in doing just that. I had to adjust to four different locations very quickly and still be able to learn and ask questions in the various scenarios we were in. The growth I had in this aspect gave me confidence that I will bring to my future career.
I will never forget this trip for many reasons. I gained confidence to talk to new people even those who come from a background much different than my own. I gained knowledge about other counties specifically their history, culture, and economies. I also gained experience for my future career. Most importantly, I gained an appreciation for a global mindset. I realized how little I know about other countries yet how important it is to stay up to date with world news. I will bring this insight back to Pitt Business to share with my classmates that did not have the chance to study abroad. I will also encourage everyone I know to go abroad and how impactful it can be.