Florence, Italy : The Beginning, February 2023

My name is Avery Moore and I am a junior at the University of Pittsburgh, studying finance and creative writing. I have always been exposed to business because my dad worked for EY growing up, so studying business has been a plan for me for a long time. I am a very creative person, though, and am way more interested in reading and writing than math, which is interesting in a perspective business student. I study business because I have always understood business through the lens of my father, and by that I mean that business is about people, and about selling, and not about how many equations you can memorize. So, while I would rather write essays about literature, and I read thirty fictions books last year, math classes are where I find myself, and I do my best. 

            I have wanted to study abroad since I understood the concept, and since I went to South Africa when I was 12 with my family and was exposed to what would be one of my favorite things ever: travel and learning about new cultures. I love to go to new places, and to experience things that aren’t available to me in America. I am now studying in Florence, with the Global Business Institute in Florence and CAPA. I choose this program because I wanted to be in Europe, and I didn’t want to go somewhere that spoke English. This criterion left me with Florence, and I was glad to choose such a historic and quaint location. My goal for this program is to be able to speak Italian at a basic level and hold a basic conversation. Similarly, my goal is to understand what makes Italy so unique and how this experience can shape the person I am looking to become post-graduation.

            So far, the differences of school here in Florence versus Pittsburgh are huge. For one, the classes are two and a half hours, and I am used to one hour and fifteen minutes. This has been a challenge for me, but I appreciate what the structure of the classes does, which is give me a lot of free time (I only have each class once a week). The other big difference is we can’t use our laptops in class, a rule that I can understand where it came from, but I think it is more detrimental than helpful. It is hard for me to pay attention for such long periods of time, and at least with my laptop, I am constantly taking notes. With a note pad, I find myself doodling, or making lists of unrelated things, and have to try and force myself back to attention after the first hour and a half. Maybe on my laptop I would be looking into Airbnb’s in Rome for the next weekend, but at least when the slides changes my attention is brought back to my notes screen, and I type what’s on the board. 

            The neighborhood I’m living in is wonderful; I have 5 roommates, but our apartment is huge and new and right down the street from the Duomo. It is very close to class, so when I find myself up at 8 am on Monday for my finance class, I don’t have to travel too far. There is a great coffee shop at the end of the street that I love, where one can get a “Caffe latte” for 2 euro, and it’s better than anything they have at Starbucks in America. I have actually never had a roommate in my life, so sharing a space so intimately has been an adjustment. But, honestly, a great adjustment; I find that I am rarely in my room, but I don’t want to be in my room, since I am living in Italy, and have so much to explore! I am more cognizant of where all my stuff is, and try to be cleaner, which my parents have been trying to instill in me for years and years and years; I guess all they had to do was stick me in a room with my brother but thank God they didn’t!

            Overall, these first few weeks in Italy have been a dream; I have imagined it my whole life, and yet I still couldn’t picture how amazing it would be. I am independent and meeting a ton of new, like-minded people, and I am experiencing Europe from different perspectives all the time. I am out in the world, and I am the luckiest person alive to be doing it in Florence, Italy.