Ciao! My name is Anna Vincent and I am a Junior studying Finance, Marketing, and Innovation and Entrepreneurship. I am attending in the GBI program in Florence, Italy this fall. Before moving to Florence, you could find me on campus participating in Alpha Kappa Psi events or holding office hours as a T.A. for Quantitative Methods. I am also an avid thrifter and DIY-er! I am always keeping busy with creating products for my Etsy store, or with my arsenal of other crafting projects.
Simply put, my experience in Florence has been incredibly GONZO. (Gonzo is Italian for cool but this word is only recognized in Florence!) Pitt’s incredible study abroad opportunities were the deciding factor for me when choosing to attend the University of Pittsburgh. This is a blessing and a curse because this made choosing which program to attend a challenge! Ultimately, I decided on the GBI Florence program because it provided the opportunity to intern with a Florentine company. The opportunity to intern was important to me because this takes learning my host country’s culture to an entirely new dimension. Throughout my time in Florence, a few goals of mine include developing my intercultural communication, elevating my marketing skills, and strengthening my problem solving capabilities by adapting to the challenges of a unique global environment. And of course, truly getting to know the Tuscany region so that when I am saying “Ciao” in December, I will no longer be a tourist, but a resident saying goodbye to what was my home for the last 3 months!
Upon arrival in Florence there were many similarities between the States and what I saw in Italy. However, to no surprise, the differences were what caught my attention. For example, grabbing an espresso and a pastry to eat at the counter of your local cafe is custom. In the States, I am used to grabbing a quick to-go cup of coffee and practically running out the door to get to my first class. The practice of slowing down and taking time to relax and enjoy yourself in the morning was definitely unexpected. I feel this is a representation of how the pace moves slower in Italy, where prioritizing yourself and the quiet moments in life are most important.
Adapting to this new mindset, along with the physical aspects of my move to Florence has been surprisingly smooth. I am living in an apartment with 6 other girls only a short walk away from the city center. All the other students that I have met in Florence have had a similar mentality. They are excited to make the most of this opportunity, to learn, and to ultimately enjoy their time in Italy this fall. This common ground between us all allows for connections to be made that much quicker and that much sweeter!
Needless to say, I am excited to see where this very gonzo experience takes me this semester!