My study abroad experience in London is a part of my college career I will remember for the rest of my life. Before this experience, I had never left the country, I had never flown on a plane by myself, I had never lived in a “global city,” let alone even known what that meant. I will always look back on this time as the period where I feel I unlocked adulthood. Not only was this the first time I truly felt like an independent adult, but I got to see what I am capable of when put in a new environment and be able to grow and thrive in that notion.
What I think my biggest takeaway from this program is learning about the intricacies and sociology behind the global city that is London and being able to apply that to wherever I travel in the future. A “global city,” is one that embodies international characteristics in the way it showcases itself and interacts globally from a social, economic, cultural, and political perspective. This was critical to my business education because it gave me a new perspective in critical thinking as well as human, or in the workplace, consumer behavior. While I did not work in London, taking classes gave me the flexibility to take what I learned in the classroom and explore it in the city, as I’ve discussed in previous blog posts.
I want to bring these experiences back to Pitt Business by urging students to pursue study abroad. The opportunity is not just an imperative cultural experience, but a catalyst for focusing and growing in one’s own professional, personal, and academic development. London’s never-ending array of festivities emphasized to me how important living in a city and participating in community matters to me and should be a priority post-graduation. Opportunities like catching a musical on a Wednesday night, walking along the river, going to food festivals, art festivals, film festivals– these community-led initiatives are what I want to fill my personal life with and be a part of after Pitt.
Professionally, this was an amazing opportunity to advance my networking capabilities, especially in a post-quarantined world. Being completely virtual for a year and a half, I felt like I lost a lot of my interpersonal skills going into this program. The ability to meet and interact with new peers from different colleges, my professors, the CAPA staff, and even Pitt Business alumni was great way to get back to people. Furthermore, interacting with these people all with the foundational interest in international business and London was a great way to learn even more about the city and other international opportunities in the future.
I have had the privilege to pursue a variety of interesting and meaningful opportunities through Pitt Business, but study abroad was not just one that will define my professional career, but my personal life moving forward as well. While I hope this is not the last time I get an abroad experience like London, it was truly one of the best experiences of my life and I will be forever grateful for it.
For the last time,