Development in Florence

Being my first experience abroad, I feel like I developed personally and professionally greatly during this trip. Both of my courses involved going out and seeing not only the historical center and tourist spots, but also outside the city center and less glamorous parts of Florence. Having to navigate myself throughout Florence on my own while communicating with guides, locals, etc. certainly helped me develop professionally. I think being thrown out into a new space we tend to go into survival mode and forget certain aspects of professionalism so fighting that urge and learning about myself every week was very educating for me. While I did not have an internship during this study abroad program, I feel like the interactions I made with people within CAPA (where I took classes) as well as Florentines and other Italians were just as crucial to my professional development.

View of Florence from Fiesole!

I think time management and communication were huge parts of my transferrable skillsets. I definitely went into this study abroad with the mindset that the classes were not going to be difficult and there would not be much work–boy was I wrong. Particularly in the last two weeks papers, projects, exams, all began to build up and feel overwhelming. Juggling these things while also trying to fit in the fun stuff including items on my list of things to do in Italy that I wanted to get done before I left was extremely challenging. This definitely increased my time management skills and made me really focus on getting things done well before they were due so they would not pile up as much and feel so overwhelming. Communication was probably the most important skill required for the whole trip. While a lot of people in Italy and most other countries in Europe speak English, some struggle or are not fluent and others do not speak it at all. This was a barrier in a lot of places I went to, especially outside of the city center, that I had to work on and include other meaning of communicating such as hand gestures or using google translate. This combined with being adaptable was crucial to living in Florence and I think is crucial to all aspects of my life especially professionally moving forward. Being able to relay these experiences not only in the classroom, but in interviews and other work settings in the future will help me connect with others and provide useful insight.