Studying Abroad in Italy: A Trip Full Circle

Hello everyone!

My name is Peter Piccirilli and I am a junior at the University of Pittsburgh. I am currently pursuing a major in finance, in addition to a minor in Italian and a certificate in international business. By studying abroad this semester, I will be able to take courses that will help me advance in each of my fields of studies.

I grew up in Moon Township, a suburb 30 minutes away from the city of Pittsburgh. All four of my grandparents are Italian immigrants, something which has had a tremendous impact on my life. Growing up in a distinctly Italian-American home made me proud to have adopted elements of both cultures into daily life.

It is my goal to one day work in a position in which international business is conducted. Whether it be working for a multinational company, or owning my own business and working with other companies abroad, I hope to have the ability to connect across the globe with different cultures and be cognizant of the world around me.

By having the ability to study abroad this semester, every course I am taking directly helps me achieve my academic goals of pursuing my major, minor, and certificate. This academic development is compounded with personal growth. Being exposed to a foreign country and culture has and will continue to teach me many lessons about the world beyond Pittsburgh. It also will help me complete a journey into discovering my family’s history.

When I found out there was the chance to study abroad in Italy, I knew that I had to seize the opportunity. In many ways, I viewed the opportunity as me bringing my family’s immigrant history full circle. My grandparents left Italy due to lack of opportunity. Nearly 75 years later, I find myself in Italy in order to both increase my future opportunities and discover the country my family left behind. I know that this trip will serve to provide employers with the knowledge that I am able to adapt to situations others may view as uncomfortable, and that I will be able to advance academically because of it. However, this study abroad experience is ultimately my quest to find answers to the questions I have asked myself my entire life.

The Italy my grandparents left was one of war and poverty. Yet, although Italy was unkind to them, they maintained a degree of their culture that was inevitably passed down onto their children and grandchildren. The line between Italian and American was always blurred in my upbringing. I consistently asked myself where I fit in as both and American and Italian. l hope this opportunity provides me with an experience that will both strengthen my future opportunities and contributes towards my academic goals, all while helping me understand my own identity as an Italian-American.