Farewell to a Formative Semester in Florence

Formative: capable of giving form.

As a last-semester senior, it is easy to see why we tend to have so many mixed emotions. We are scared of the future, and simultaneously excited. We are not ready to say goodbye, but also ready to graduate and start the rest of our lives. It is hard to determine how our lives will take form.

Throw studying abroad into the mix, and it’s goes from complex to complicated. There is even more uncertainty in my life because of the present, when usually college seniors know that they are able to get the closure of doing senior-year activities such as senior dinners, send-offs, walking at graduation, and saying goodbye to their friends properly.

View of the sunset from the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.

When I first embarked on this incredible journey, I had little idea of the reality of how much growth I would experience.

On a personal level, I see myself as more confident and able to make decisions. My personality has always tended to lean towards going with the flow. Throughout this semester, I have found myself needing to plan. I appreciate the growth I have had with stepping up as a leader in groups or with myself while travelling or solo travelling across different countries, communicating with a language barrier, and even searching for different necessities for my apartment (in this city that has no superstores)!

My personality also has tended to remain open minded, and I am so happy that living in different countries let me exercise the ability to try new things. Eating cow stomach – a Florence street food staple. Attending performances at Opera Houses. Learning about the potentially deadly yet annually loved activity of mushroom picking.

My teapot, now preserved in an art studio, that I created through my Sculpture class.

Academically, I have grown to love studying the humanities. I have not taken many courses outside of my business courses at Pitt, and I really enjoyed studying specific courses within the topics of art history, fine arts, sociology, and Italian language. During this semester, I had to adjust to the different format of learning these topics compared to the usual group projects, high level thinking, and quantitative work that I did in my business classes. I know that I am now a more well-rounded thinker and can make connections across these disciplines.

I am also now a global learner academically. I was able to learn much about European history and the nature of humanity during my many visits to different museums and tourist attractions throughout my time here.

Visiting the Berlin Wall during a trip to Germany over my 10 day fall break.

I know that my personal and academic growth have more than prepared me for my professional growth. As I graduate within the next few days and move back to the States, I will start my career in a completely new city. This move may be similar to studying abroad. My experience of independence and adaptation will surely be leveraged at my new city and job!

Overall, I am coming away from this program with a greater sense of self confidence, and I have more skills of adaptation, communication, and open-mindedness. I am grateful for the opportunity to see the world and have such an intentional and impactful Pitt Business program to help me do it.

It is still quite a lot to process – this small yet large piece of my life where I took my learnings from the classroom, to the city, to the world. Forever thankful!