Florence: A Week to Remember

Hello! My name is Bridgette McCooey and I am currently studying abroad in Florence Italy for the 6 week summer GBI program. I am a third-year student at the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in Supply Chain Management and Marketing. I am on track to graduate a year early, which was an incentive to take advantage of PITT’s amazing study abroad opportunities. Other than studying abroad currently, I have had two internships throughout my collegiate career. I was a sales and marketing intern with STC Direct based in Philadelphia in summer of 2021, and just ended my internship for the spring semester as a project management and marketing research assistant at First Sip Brew Box based in Pittsburgh. Personally, I love to run, travel (evidently), read, go to the beach, and spend time with friends and family. 

As studying abroad and traveling in Europe has always been a dream and major goal of mine, I knew I had to do it. After hearing about how amazing the program was from friends and others in my business organization, I had little hesitation in applying for the program. Originally, I had wanted to apply for a program in Spain, as I have studied Spanish for almost 7 years; however, when I saw that Florence was an option and that it fit perfectly with my schedule, I knew it was meant to be. I chose the Florence Summer 2022 GBI program for many reasons, but the one above all was that I wanted to immerse myself in a completely different cultural environment than what I was used to here in the United States. Different social norms, traditions, and an entire new language were all appealing to me, especially being that I had barely been out of the country – let alone across the world! 

So far, Florence has been everything and more than I expected. One of my main goals, as Italian is one of my courses, is to be able to converse casually with locals. I believe that adapting and acclimating to the culture through learning their language is key to being respectful to the Florentines. Thus far I have been able to say hello and goodbye, thank you, and ask simple questions like “Can I have the bill?” or “Where is the bathroom?”. It is very rewarding to be able to converse with the locals and storekeepers. Another goal of mine is to figure out the train and public transportation systems. I want to travel locally around Italy, like Rome or Pisa. Therefore, it is crucial that I learn to navigate the stations. Lastly, my final goal is to learn about the art and cultural history of Italy, and specifically Florence. I believe that this will be achieved throughout my Renaissance Art History class, where I have already learned so much about Florence and its significant artistic background. Altogether, I am so grateful for this opportunity, and I cannot wait to see my goals come to fruition!