Hello! My name is Connor Damon, and I am an incoming junior at the University of Pittsburgh in the College of Business Administration’s Honors Program, double majoring in Supply Chain Management and Business Information Systems with a minor in Film and Media Studies and a Certificate in Business Analytics. I am originally from just south of Pittsburgh, PA, and I could not imagine living anywhere else. I am extremely passionate about the performing arts, especially theater and cinema, and grew up acting in various musicals and plays all throughout middle and high school and have continued to pursue this passion through my A Cappella group on campus, the Songburghs. After completing the Virtual International Internship Program this summer, I am extremely excited to be back in the swing of things with Pitt Business Study Abroad, participating in GBI London in-person this semester, and I can’t wait to share more about my own personal experience.
I chose to participate in the Global Business Institute (GBI) program because I felt that it gave me the best options for pursuing a professional internship in an international setting, while also completing several requirements for my major and minor. GBI London stuck out to me as the perfect program for me simply because of the uniqueness of London as a city. While other locations do have their own benefits, it is difficult to compare any other city to London, especially when it comes to its diversity. London is truly an international hub in Europe, and the sheer size and diversity of the city is a fantastic way to experience not just one international culture, but many, including cultures from entirely different continents like Asia and Africa. I have many smaller goals for the semester such as performing well in my internship and classes, but the most important goal I have set for myself is to do my best to truly experience another culture. My previous programs with Pitt Business Study Abroad have been virtual or too short for me to really get a sense of the nuances of another culture, but the semester long program will hopefully allow be to better development my understanding of not only how to function in another culture, but how to learn about another culture.
I am taking classes with Pitt’s partner provider in London, CAPA. CAPA is located in Kensington, which is about a 45-minute commute from my flat in Whitechapel. My classes are much longer than my normal classes at Pitt, and last for about 3 hours each. While the classes are long, we only have them once a week, which makes them much more manageable. The culture of London is like something I have never experienced. There is so much history and diversity in the city that every pocket of it can feel like a different country in itself, which makes it all the more interesting.
The classroom setting, despite the additional length in classes, has been fairly similar to Pitt. We have smaller classes that tend to involve quite a bit of participation, which has certainly kept things interesting. The biggest difference between here and home has to be the commute. Having to travel to class and not just roll out of bed into Zoom or walk five minutes to Sennott has definitely been an adjustment, but it allows me to explore parts of the city I may not normally see. My new neighborhood is extremely interesting, thanks to a long history and a diverse population. I live in Whitechapel, which is about a five minute walk from the central City of London and the Tower Bridge in different directions (and consequently the home of Jack the Ripper). Our flat is basically in between the City and Whitechapel, making it extremely convenient for getting around. Living with 6 others in a fairly small flat has been somewhat difficult. There is not a lot of space, so it feels like we are always tripping over one another. Performing ordinarily simple tasks like cooking and doing laundry require planning and cooperation between everyone, but we make it work. Dealing with a long commute for classes and work has been an interesting predicament, but having that dedicated time set out for relaxation, reflection, and work is often very nice. All in all, I have loved every minute of my time here in London, and I am so ex