Learning Resilience from Firenze

Ciao! Checking in again from Florence. I want to highlight some of the MANY skills I have learned since arriving to Florence in January.

Living and studying in a foreign country has lead me to develop a number of soft skills. The first is problem-solving, which quickly proved to be the most pertinent skill I had to use. In my experience, services and businesses in Italy are generally less dependable. For example, there are often strikes in different industries that can severely disrupt day-to-day life. The first weekend I was here, there was a train/public transportation strike that we did not know about, and we had to think very quickly to decide how we were going to make it back to our apartment.

Another skill I have been able to work on is my patience. In America, life is so fast paced, and we expect quick service, quick walking, etc. On campus in Pittsburgh, I am running from one place to another, stressed and trying to fit everything in my day. In Florence, that is much different. Everything is more relaxed, and there is not so much of a hustle. I initially found the slow pace of life frustrating, but I have learned to adapt and set my expectations accordingly. This means going into the cafe earlier than I think I should before class to allow time for delays, or leaving my apartment slightly earlier in case there are a lot of people walking slowly on the street. I have really grown to appreciate this way of life — what is meant to be, will be.

While studying in Florence, I am living with people that are much different than who I am used to. All of my roommates go to Indiana University, and are from the midwest. It has been so interesting to hear about their college experience, and the differing perspectives they have. My decision to live with individuals that do not go to Pitt has greatly impacted my experience abroad. It has taught me the importance of thorough communication, and what can happen if that is not established.

Overall, I have learned resilience from my time abroad. Many things go the way I plan, but a lot of things do not. Remaining flexible and staying patient has been the key to making it through tricking situations. Through my time in Italy, I have learned more about my behaviors, my tendencies, my likes and my dislikes than I ever have in my life. That’s never something that you could put on a resume, or even describe in words fully – but it has been so eye opening and important to me. I am developing my own identity and learning what is fulfilling in my life.