Ciao from Firenze!

Hi, My name is Anusha Banerjee! I am a junior at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in Supply Chain Management and Business Information Systems.

Currently, I’m studying abroad in Florence through the GBI in Florence program. I became interested in studying abroad at the beginning of my freshman year after my advisor told me about the GBI programs offered through the business school. I chose the Florence program because I wanted to go somewhere that had a rich culture and history where there would always be somewhere new to explore and something new to discover. I also wanted to do a program where I would be immersing myself in a completely new culture and environment. Fortunately, in just over 3 weeks, I have already learned that deciding on the Florence program was the best decision for me. 

After this experience, I hope to be able to improve my Italian skills and to be able to have a basic conversation in Italian. I also hope to become more comfortable navigating Florence on my own and to become more immersed in the true Italian culture. 

So far, I have found that there are many differences with how classes work in Florence compared to how they did in Pittsburgh. A major one is that we only have each class once a week but it’s for 2.5 hours. In Pittsburgh, I was used to classes that were only 1 hour and 15 minutes. But we usually get a 10-minute break in the middle of the class, which actually helps in staying attentive. Additionally, for most of my classes, I can’t use my laptop, which is something I had become used to using for taking notes in my classes in Pittsburgh. However, I have realized that taking handwritten notes really helps in forcing you to focus on only writing down the important points since usually we don’t get enough time to write down everything that our professors talk about. 

Here in Florence, I’m living in a very modern apartment with three other girls and have to share a room with one of them. It’s the first time I’ve ever shared a room with someone, so it was an adjustment, but it has still been fun getting to know all my roommates. The neighborhood I live in is very much outside of the city center. I live about 15 minutes away from the CAPA center and about 20 minutes from the Duomo. However, we actually enjoy living outside of the city center since it seems like we are getting a more authentic experience of what Florence is like. There aren’t as many tourists and students near us, and even though we are further away from most of the popular hangout places for study abroad students, being so far almost forces us to spend time in the more local areas where we are surrounded by Italians. 

Overall, these first few weeks have been amazing, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of this experience will bring!