La Bell’Italia

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Ciao belli! My name is Taylor and I am a junior studying marketing, international business, and Italian in Florence, Italy.

After being in Florence for two weeks, it is finally starting to feel like home. I grew up in a town about thirty minutes outside of Pittsburgh, so going abroad for fifteen weeks is a big deal.  Coming to Pitt was a tough choice for me because I always knew that I wanted to get away from my home town, but I can truly say that Pitt was the right choice for me both academically and financially.  Since arriving on campus, I have changed my major three times and I am so grateful that Pitt is able to offer successful academic programs in every concentration that interests me, from nursing, to statistics, and finally to business.  If you told me in high school that I would graduate with a business degree, I would’ve said you were crazy.  I loved statistics because it is so important to understand data, but business allows us to use that data to improve our lives through products, services, and processes. The fact that I am able to go to Pitt- in the city where I’ve lived my whole life- but study the complexity of international business in another country is just one example of how Pitt business goes “from the classroom, to the city, to the world.”

Pitt business has given me opportunities that I would’ve never imagined would be possible.  I will graduate with a major in marketing, a certificate in international business, and a minor in Italian.  I studied in Rome with the Pitt in Rome summer program in 2018, and I loved it so much that I had to return.  This past semester, I also participated in a program hosting an exchange student from Spain, and we became such great friends that I’ll be visiting her in Barcelona next week!  

Over the summer, I worked with Customs and Border Protection at the Pittsburgh International Airport to bring in the international flights from Frankfurt, London, and various places in the Caribbean.  Working with government officials who have a huge influence in regulating travel and protecting our borders gave me so much exposure to the world and its people.  I also got to use my Italian quite a bit while working on the European flights, which enabled me to practice speaking in preparation for this study abroad.  I love learning about international travel and immigration, and to work for the government is a dream to me.  This summer I will be working for the US Department of State at the US Consulate General in Milan, and  I can honestly say with confidence that without Pitt business, I wouldn’t have this amazing opportunity.

From the time I returned from Rome, I knew that I had to come back to study in Italy.  The culture fascinates me, and I love knowing the language and actually being able to use it every day.  For me, it is so important to be culturally Italian while I’m here, and not just a tourist. I hope by the time I leave Italy, whether it be after this semester or after my summer internship, that I can speak fluent Italian like I was born here. I chose GBI: Florence because it has everything I was looking for in a study abroad program from classes to cultural experiences and endless opportunities to meet new people and mentors.  My instructors are incredibly knowledgeable about business throughout the world, and there is so much to learn from their work. On top of that, Florence is in the dead center of Italy, which means that traveling throughout the country is very easy.  The differences between regions of Italy are so important to the cultural identity of the people, and I am in the perfect place to be able to experience this firsthand.

As I mentioned before, I wasn’t thrilled at the idea of coming to a university thirty minutes outside of my hometown. But they say that everything happens for a reason, and now that I am here, studying what I love with extraordinary people in this extraordinary place, I know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.