An Introduction to Me and My Italian Semester

Hi everyone! My name is Pam Junqueira and I am a senior finance student at Pitt also pursuing an international business certificate. I am originally from São Paulo, Brazil but have lived in Pittsburgh since grade school. On campus I am involved in Women in Business and Delta Zeta. I held the position of VP of Marketing and Member relations for Women in Business and VP of Finance for Delta Zeta. Professionally, I have interned at the Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation as a business analyst and at US Steel in their Procurement department. All of these experiences on campus and in the real business world have taught me a lot of technical and soft skills that I use everyday.

I am currently studying abroad with the Global Business Institute program in Florence, Italy. I chose this specific program because studying abroad has always been a dream of mine since I was in middle school. Being from Brazil, I have always been super interested in having experiences outside of my “homes” and trying to learn about different cultures. I specifically chose Florence because I wanted to challenge myself by going to a country in which I did not speak the language, therefore I would have to learn it. I have many goals for this program but a few specific ones are learning a decent amount of Italian (enough to be able to use it in restaurants, stores, and other daily activities), to immerse myself in the Italian culture and lifestyle rather than spending a few months living as a tourist, and to gain global business experience (which I am hoping will come out of my internship that I am doing here).

Here in Florence I am studying with CAPA. CAPA hosts a number of different American universities so I have students from other colleges in all of my classes, which I think is pretty cool and a great way to meet new people! The classes are also a lot smaller here, two of my classes have only around 10-15 people and one has around 30 I believe. I am very excited about this because I think it will help me be able to build a better relationship with my professors and peers.

I live in the middle of the city center, down the street from the Duomo in an apartment with 3 other girls! It has been very interesting to be in a traditional Italian apartment. There are many differences such as no air conditioning, no clothes dryer, and having to dispose the garbage in a certain way. All of these changes have shown me how Italians truly value protecting the environment and doing everything they can to decrease the use of unnecessary energy and unnecessary waste. I really enjoy this because I personally think it is crucial to be conscious of the environmental impacts our actions cause. Also, living by the Duomo is one of my favorite parts of my living situation. It is so beautiful and I really enjoy being able to walk past it and admire it on my daily walks and errands. Currently, since it is still warm here, Florence is filled with tourists which makes the city very busy but I am very excited for the next few months when the tourism slows down and the city becomes a bit calmer!

Although it has been tough to not see my friends and family daily and the language barrier does make life a little trickier here, I do believe I am taking advantage of these challenges and seeing them in a very positive light. I have been adapting well and I am very excited to continue my 3.5 months of living as much like a true Italian as I can!

Here are a few pictures from my first week in Firenze!

Me in front of the Duomo after my first day of classes!
This is the Ponte Vecchio in Florence!
The Duomo!