A Thank You Letter to Florence

As the last week of my incredible experience studying and interning in Florence is about to begin, I have a lot to reflect on. This semester has been filled with tough times, but the amazing times and growth that I have experienced has completely made any struggle worth it. This semester I have grown in more ways than I thought possible. I became much more independent than I was before and I have gained a new perspective on life. Italy has shown me the beauty of taking things slow and appreciating what is around me. 

Personally, I have learned to be my own support system. With my family and friends thousands of miles away and 6 hours behind, I could not just call or text them at any inconvenience. This forced me to learn to be there for myself and handle situations on my own. Although I know my family and friends will always be there, it is comforting to know I can also face difficult situations independently. 

Academically, I have been able to see things from a new perspective. Learning in the US always gives the American perspective, but taking classes in Italy has taught me information from the perspective of an Italian and a citizen of Europe. Specifically, I am taking International Finance here and the class is taught from a European point of view, which I think has been extremely insightful. 

Professionally, I have developed cultural intelligence, which is in my opinion one of the most important soft skills I could have. Working in an Italian professional setting has made me a lot more adaptable. Working in a culture I was not comfortable with helped me be a lot better at working with people who’s backgrounds are not the same as mine, which is crucial in every aspect of life. 

In addition to what I have just mentioned, I developed my time management skills tremendously. I had to quickly learn how to manage my time during this semester. I worked 20 hours and took 4 classes which was already a lot of work, but in addition to that I really wanted to make sure I had enough time to enjoy Florence and travel. I had to learn to get everything done efficiently and effectively, so I would not get burnt out. I personally believe I was pretty successful at managing my time this semester and all of the hard work was extremely worth it. 

These are all skills and growth that I will carry with me and value for the rest of my life. They translate into all aspects of life and will make me a better professional, friend, family member, human, and peer.

Finally, my biggest takeaway is the importance of enjoying the present instead of overthinking the past and worrying about the future. Living in a culture with a much more relaxed internal clock showed me the importance of living in the present and taking it slow to appreciate what is around me. The US has such a go, go, go mentality that things get lost in the present, so I am extremely grateful to Italy for showing me the importance of taking a breath and treasuring the journey along with everything else it has given and taught me.