Many Thanks, London

What now is a few weeks in the past, my study abroad experience in London has been the most life changing experience throughout my time at Pitt thus far. During my entire six-week program in London, I was immersed in the culture of the city, and with each day, I met someone new and learned something new. It has been quite the journey.

Coming back to the United States was something that I initially was looking forward to. I would be able to get my favorite Chick-Fil-A sandwich, be able to drive again, and not have to worry about the conversion of the dollar to pound ratio when keeping track of exactly how much money I was spending. When I got home, however, I found that I had some adjusting to do. Reverse culture shock does exist, and it is much more difficult to anticipate than the typical culture shock experienced when traveling abroad. Boredom also began to set in.  I had just been in London for almost seven weeks, and as one of the biggest cities in the world, keeping busy was not a challenge. While Pittsburgh is my home and one of my favorite places, it cannot compare to the endless opportunities that we were able to take advantage of while in London.

Reflecting on both my academic and professional experiences that I had while I was abroad, I learned so much from each aspect of the program. My academic coursework in International Marketing has really allowed me to gain a greater appreciation for the vast number of different cultures throughout the world and how they each have their own spin on how they conduct business. I will never forget that first day of class, where Dr. Ozuem for introduced us to polychronic time (albeit, I don’t think I’ll ever get completely used to it). In my internship experience, it was very exciting to be working on projects that affected the everyday operation of the business. From creating print media flyers to helping at a special event, I was exposed to all parts of the business. My coworkers amazing as well, and I am very fortunate that they welcomed me to their team from day one; I plan to stay connected with them as well!

Finally, the friends and weekend adventures on this program can’t be overlooked. When I stepped onto the plane in Pittsburgh bound for London, I did not know a single person going on this trip. Coming home, I met many new people from both Pitt and other universities across the country that I otherwise would not have met. Traveling throughout the United Kingdom also made for fun weekend adventures, for there was never a dull moment.

What’s next? I am not sure. One thing is for certain, however: I am extremely motivated to take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way, even if it is at short notice. My decision to do this program was on very short notice: I only found out about the GBI London program about a week prior to the application deadline, so I did not have a lot of time to decide if I wanted to participate in this program. With that being said, I am extremely happy that I did, for I would’ve missed out on an incredible experience if I had not! It was an investment in both my future professionally and personally, and there is nothing that I would have done this summer that would have even come close to being as impactful.

This is my final blog, and it is also effectively the conclusion of my study abroad experience. I’ll be back on-campus soon to start the fall semester, and I look forward to what is to come.

To London, and everyone I met throughout my program: many thanks.

Justin