This experience has changed my disposition on how I carry myself personally, academically, and professionally. I can say with confidence that I have seen so much growth in myself that is solely attributed to studying abroad.
In terms of personal growth, I have evolved in terms of how I can carry myself independently. Being your own best companion is truly such a skill. Having the confidence to explore new experiences is so valuable. I used to shy away from unfamiliar situations if my friends were not on board with doing it with me. However, when studying abroad, there are so many cool opportunities that simply can not be missed out on, even if without the comfort of your peers. My biggest personal take away is to not skip out on something if no one else is doing it! You will likely regret that decision. Take the leap and go by yourself, chances are there will be others in the same boat as you, who are also rocking solo.
My academic growth is seen in the way that I am able to handle many academic pressures without raising my stress levels! When studying abroad, there tends to be a constant swarm of chaos around. Balancing school, interning, traveling, and exploring your host city will keep you busy! Before coming to Florence, I was not strong at handling these different pressures without getting overwhelmed. However, I have become a strong multitasker, with a great tense of time management that only studying abroad could instill. Staying on top of my school work is always my priority, but in the past, staying on top of it without cutting out every other enjoyable part of my life is where the challenge laid. But when studying abroad, the majority of this experience is exploring your surroundings, learning about different cultures, and getting lost in your city! Therefore, I have learned how to stay on top of my school work and make room for these fun experiences, and this is the result of stronger time management and multitasking.
Professionally, I have grown in terms of my communication and adaptability skills. Interning abroad has taught me so much about the importance of cross cultural communication. Being able to go across cultural divides and work there is one thing, but being able to cross these divides and thrive there is something else altogether. And this only comes when you possess cultural intelligence. Learning about Florentine culture in terms of marketing, sales, and workplace norms, has forever changed my professional outlook. To be a leader in today’s world, you must master cultural intelligence, as our world is more interconnected than ever before. I have also grown professionally when it comes to adapting to a new environment. In today’s world, the workplace is always changing in terms of the problems you will be working on, which is why adaptability is also so crucial. I have become more adaptable by overcoming the challenges that working in a unique environment creates.
Leaving Florence is so bittersweet. However, I will always have a piece of Florence with me as I am leaving with a mindset that has forever been changed by this experience. I am excited to leverage these new skills when I return to Pitt and in the remainder of my professional career. I am leaving with an instilled sense of independence, time management ability, and mindset that is adaptable to an ever changing world.