GBI Florence: Getting Started

Hi, I’m Alexis Hammer, an incoming junior at Pitt Business. I’m majoring in Marketing, minoring in Administration of Justice (in the College of General Studies), and completing a certificate in Leadership and Ethics. At Pitt, I am mainly involved in Delta Sigma Pi, a professional business fraternity. Last semester I served as Chancellor of our chapter, and this upcoming year I will be serving as President. Additionally, I have played alto saxophone for over 10 years and have participated in both private lessons and Pitt’s Symphonic Band throughout my time at Pitt. Last summer, I started my own handmade jewelry business, ALH Beads, which strengthened my passion for entrepreneurship. I also work seasonally as a Sales Associate at Gap. Sustainable fashion is something I am very interested in, and I love thrift shopping and buying clothing second hand. 

This summer, I am studying in Florence, Italy for six weeks for the Global Business Institute. I chose this program because I knew I wanted to study abroad while at Pitt, but my original plan was to study abroad for an entire semester in Spain. I ultimately realized that a summer study abroad program was the best option for myself, and although Spain was not offered this summer, Italy is somewhere I have always wanted to travel and I was particularly fascinated with its history while taking a European history course in high school. I am studying at a school called CAPA that is a three minute walk from my apartment. I am taking two courses: Renaissance Art History and Analyzing and Exploring the Global City. Both of my classes involve a mix of lectures and experiential learning. In Renaissance Art History, we visit a different museum or church each week, and in Analyzing and Exploring we walk around to various places during class. I am eager to study Florentine culture and the city, as well as learn about Renaissance Art and learn about the historical context, composition, and meaning of each piece.

I have many goals for myself that I would like to achieve throughout my time abroad. As someone who often has a hard time pushing outside of my comfort zone, I would like to embrace change, challenge, and new opportunities. I am also a bit of a picky eater, so although pasta and pizza are right up my alley, I hope to try lots of new foods and expand my palate. While in Italy, I hope to explore both inside and outside of Florence’s City Center, and I also hope to explore other areas of Italy, such as Rome, Milan, and more. Additionally, I hope to explore outside of Italy and see some other European countries on the weekends. This is my first time in Europe, so I would like to visit at least one or two other countries while I’m here. I hope to meet new people, both in my program and throughout Florence. I would love to spend less time on my phone, but I also hope to take lots and lots of pictures. I want to practice gratitude often and take in every moment, and I am so excited to see what this experience brings!