In addition to having a once in a lifetime experience of living in Italy for 3 months, the cherry on top of studying abroad is that your portfolio of transferable soft and hard professional skills will flourish.
Right off the bat, my time management skills have been put to the test. Juggling my work and pleasure has challenged me to be diligent with creating a schedule. There are many professional responsibilities that come with this experience, which are prioritized. However, you also need to leave room to prioritize yourself while you are here, in order to make the most of your short time living in a new country. As a result, I have become stronger at planning, and being proactive with completing responsibilities ahead of time. Another soft skill that I have developed has been my communication. Communicating is something that has always been very comfortable for me, but when placed in a unique global environment, I had to rethink the ways I might have normally gone about sharing ideas, and voicing questions or concerns. Learning the communication style of Florence, and that of my teachers and bosses, has been critical. Learning the differences between our communication styles and customs, while actively seeking to strengthen my cultural intelligence of Florence, has allowed this soft skill to grow. Learning how to speak intelligently and effectively with people who have different backgrounds is critical in order to navigate our global world. I am so grateful to this experience for opening my eyes to where I can grow this skill. And lastly, my soft skill of stress management has grown! Let’s be honest, being thrown into a totally new environment is stressful! Stress management has always been something I have struggled with, but this environment has changed the way I handle pressures. Learning about where my priorities are through this experience has allowed me to quiet these stressors in order to be able to live my life to the fullest here!
I have picked up the hard skills of content creation, project management, and social media SEO. Through the creation of content for my shop, Tornabuoni Tuscany, all of these skills have seen significant improvements. Coming in with a limited background on many of these facets of marketing, I was very excited to learn and grow through this experience. My boss has been great at challenging us to research how to maximize their social media channels reach and engagement. Over the course of the last 2 months, I can say with certainty that I feel more confident in our ability to effectively engage Tornabuoni’s audience.
Italy is so rich in culture and history. Going through the past 2 months of navigating this new culture, the most important mindset switch was to completely open myself up experiencing life like a Florentine. Since Florence is so rich in culture, it has become a hot spot for students and tourists. For this reason, it can be very easy to fall into the trap of hanging out in the places where all the Americans are, or eating the food that is catered to the American culture. However, Florence is so much more than this. Which is why I have been assiduous in trying the traditional Florentine dishes, and exploring parts of Florence that are outside of the city center. I have learned a lot through speaking with locals in these spots, which goes to show the importance of exploring the less-beaten path. This is a lifelong lesson that I am excited to learn more about through the remainder of this semester and beyond.