Exploring Florence and London remotely

I would like to introduce myself to everyone reading this. My name is Sarah Harmon, and I’m a junior at Pitt pursuing a double degree in Global Management and Political Science, a major in French, minor in Italian, and a certificate in Western European Studies. I am the communications chair for Pitt’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity, a member of Pitt Democrats, Geology Club, and am on the Student Government Board’s community and governmental relations committee (that’s a mouthful). This fall, I will be doing a fellowship with the Campus Vote Project, and I will be working on motivating students to vote in the upcoming election. I can also be found working in the Hillman Library equipment room.

Growing up, I was fascinated with the idea of exploring other cultures and traveling as much as possible, and my research and experiences have shaped me into the person I am today. Originally, I was going to take part in the Pitt in Nantes program, in which I would have gone to France and stayed with a host family for 6 weeks this summer while taking classes there. However, the trip was cancelled in March due to COVID-19, and I was left frustrated, without plans, and behind on credits. Pitt hosted a webinar in May that was meant to counsel students whose study abroad plans were cancelled, and they informed us of a remote study abroad opportunity through a program called CAPA. I researched the program, sent in my application, and was admitted into the program in June. I am enrolled in two classes with them: Analyzing and Exploring the Global City (taught in London, England) and Cross Cultural Psychology (taught in Florence, Italy). I am also taking part in an internship located in Florence, Italy as well. I was also chosen to be a vlogger for the program, so I will be meeting with members consistently to create promotional videos on CAPA’s website.

I chose the program because I felt it would be an innovative way to make the best out of a disappointing situation, as I now have a way to experience other cultures remotely and still take classes taught by professors across the world. This program will also allow me to become more comfortable working remotely – I feel this skill will be especially important in the upcoming years as many companies are likely to transition into remote workspaces. I am looking forward to the challenge of overcoming time zone barriers (I have already woken up at 5am for a meeting that took place at 11am Italian time), and I feel this will be beneficial in preparing me for my future career goals. I’m planning on pursuing a career relating to international affairs, so learning how to engage with individuals from different locations around the world will likely be a crucial part of my job in the future. Overall, though, I’m excited to learn more about two different cities, each in a different country, essentially at the same time. My program starts this week, and I cant wait to take you all along for the ride!