Skills Abroad

Throughout the duration of my time in Florence, I have been developing both hard and soft skills. In the internship class program, we learned about the differences between hard and soft skills and how it can be hard to define and explain soft skills, while hard skills are pretty self-explanatory. For example, hard skills are generally measurable and have a set of parameters to define them. As an example of a hard skill, my Italian has developed during the program, which has been nice. It has been really interesting to see how I can interact more with people when I’m going about my everyday life than just “ciao” and “grazie”. Conversations with locals have become possible, which is really cool!

Soft skills are a little more complex than hard skills are. It’s difficult to explain or even really think of soft skills on a day-to-day basis. Soft skills are the understandings and personal development that are byproducts of working in an environment. Cultural intelligence, for example, is a soft skill. You can’t teach yourself CQ, it’s something that will develop over time. During my time here, I’ve definitely expanded my CQ and learned how to work cross-culturally. The people that I work with are from Serbia and Colombia, so they also have had to develop CQ in their professional lives. My boss at my internship is a really great mentor for CQ and he’s helped me grow a lot.

As both my hard skills and soft skills have developed throughout the course of my program, I have found it so much easier to get around and function as a local. I really haven’t left Florence so I know people in the city and I can converse with waiter, store owners, etc. It has been really fun becoming sort of a local and being able to show people who have visited me around to the best extent. It’s also nice being able to avoid tourist traps and finding the really good places to go in Florence. Overall, the development of my skills has led me to a more complete experience during my program and created all-around good vibes in Florence. Hopefully as I continue along with my life and into the future I will continue to develop both soft skills and hard skills that will assist me even more with my professional career and social life.