Augsburg, Here I Come

My name is Leah Belman. I was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, but grew up in Allentown, Pennsylvania on the Eastern side of the state with my three older brothers, one of whom actually attended the College of Business Administration at the University of Pittsburgh and majored in Marketing.

I attended a Jewish Day School from pre-school through eighth grade, before attending Moravian Academy Upper School through my high school years. During my junior year in high school, however, I attended a boarding school in Layton, Utah before returning to Moravian Academy to complete my high school academics.

I am majoring in both Marketing and Supply Chain Management with a Business Analytics certificate and an Economics minor. Starting out my college career, I didn’t have much interest in business. But, I realized very early on in my freshman year that I belonged in the College of Business Administration, as opposed to the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, which is where I was originally admitted.

Since being enrolled in CBA, I have come into myself in a way I didn’t originally expect to be possible. As a high-schooler, I rarely tried new things. I wasn’t involved in clubs, sports, or extracurricular activities. I felt I didn’t have any specific interests, until I actually got to college. Although my high school offered a variety of organizations and clubs in which to participate, I didn’t find myself saying “yes” to much until I got out of high school.

Currently, I believe I have gained confidence in who I am, and I don’t feel uncomfortable trying new things. I now seek out opportunities for different events and activities to attend outside of my academic life. As a freshman, I applied to waitressing and bartending positions at multiple bars and restaurants to develop my work skills early on in my college life and have some spare spending money, along with starting my savings. Since being a waitress at Hemingway’s Café, I have complete comfort speaking to strangers and meeting new people and customers. I developed teamwork and communication skills, including listening and speaking in an environment that exposes me to customers from different backgrounds with varying needs and preferences in how they would like to be communicated with. One of the greatest strengths I have grown is the ability to quickly identify the needs of the person or people I am communicating with and adjusting my verbal communication to best fit the customers’ needs.

Another one of my college jobs has been being a campus engagement intern for the Hillel Jewish University Center of Pittsburgh. My main goal of this internship is to help Jewish freshmen and uninvolved Jewish students find their Jewish community on campus. As a freshman, I did not take as much advantage of the religious organizations on campus as a part of my development as a student. After going on a Birthright trip with Hillel JUC and meeting people who were similar to me, my eyes were opened to the possibility of myself forming relationships with other Jewish students, as well as connecting more with my religious and spiritual side, which I had been neglecting seriously throughout high school.

Reconnecting with my religious history in Israel on Birthright and making Jewish friends that also attend Pitt encouraged me to attend more Hillel events. As I became more involved, I realized that I wanted Jewish freshman who had been in my position to reach their own conclusions about their religion sooner in their college career than I had and how they wish to connect to their spirituality through their college experience. I hope to continue to help others discover their personal connection with Judaism on campus through the rest of my time at Pitt.

Outside of academics and my waitressing and internship work, I spend my limited free time relaxing and cuddling with my cat, who is one of my best friends, much to the chagrin of my boyfriend, who gets less of my free time because of this. I try to make up for this by baking lots of cookies and cupcakes for him and the rest of my friends. My favorite cookie to make is, classically, chocolate chip. I also like running and doing yoga and meditation when I can to help keep myself centered and grounded.

As my spirituality has become more important to me within the last few years, I gained an interest in traveling the world. Self-exploration is very important in the development of my spiritual beliefs. However, I believe world travel is crucial to self-exploration.

After being in the humdrum daily/weekly schedule of my college life for over two years, I think one of the best options to discover myself is to put myself in an environment where I do not know what to expect and to see and try something I never have before. The world has so much to show us, but we need to be willing to make the trip.

Although I have travelled abroad quite a bit in my childhood, in the last few years, I have only been out of the country once, for ten days in Israel with my very intense Birthright experience. I am seeking a global experience such as that through this class.

Academically, this will provide me with the chance to work in a small group for a client to further develop my teamwork skills. I also hope this gives me an opportunity to show my leadership and see how my strengths can help in a team setting.

Projects in Marketing GCC will give me the perfect opportunity to combine my desire to explore myself and to develop my professional self in a global sense. This will be my first time in Europe, and I am beyond thrilled for the chance to immerse myself in a different culture. Even more so, this will be the optimal chance for me to dip my toe into the world of international consulting within the controlled environment of Pitt Business International Programs. I am so thankful for this opportunity and excited to see where the semester will take me.