Over the course of the past six weeks, living in Florence has granted me with an immense amount of professional development and the acquisition of unique skills that will last me a lifetime. Communication is a major key to success, especially in business career paths where one is constantly interacting with others. Living in Italy has allowed me to fuse problem solving skills along with communication skills in order to effectively interact with the local Florentines. Through using my broken Italian and their use of English, I was able to navigate through the city seamlessly. Having been able to successfully pave my way through a foreign city for over a month, I now have little concern and doubt in my abilities to communicate efficiently in the United States. Other professional skills I have gained relate to an increase in cultural respect: living in an entirely different environment for six weeks has given me a new perspective and sense of maturity that I feel is crucial when working in the ever-diversifying business sphere in the U.S.
Along with the development in my professional skills, I believe this study abroad opportunity has presented me with many transferable skills that I gained in my classes and outside in the city itself. For example, my Renaissance Art History course forced my typically logical and straight-forward brain to think deeper and more creatively. I gained immense analytical skills through examining innovative paintings, sculptures, and architecture. The critical thinking that I utilized throughout the class is a skill I am sure I will use in the future throughout my careers in business as well. Another transferable skill I obtained outside of the classroom relates to the Florentine lifestyle, which is one of relaxation and easygoingness. I have always been someone who is somewhat high-strung and racing to the next moment; however, Florence taught me that it is okay to slow things down. I think that this is an important lesson that all Americans should learn, as I feel we are always pressuring ourselves to be our best at every second of every day. In reality, this lifestyle is one that is an ideal rather than a reality. No one is perfect and nor do we have to be! Having this realization was crucial and I feel as though it will really help me stay positive when going through the hiring and job search process in a year from now.
I am forever grateful for the lessons learned and skills gained from my time in Florence. These six weeks flew, and I would not change a thing. Florence is a city unlike any other, and I urge anyone interested to visit. The culture and lifestyle of the Florentines are unmatched, and they provided me with insights I am likely to never forget.