With my six weeks coming to end here in Florence, Italy I am currently doing some reflecting of my trip. From coming here to not knowing a single person in the CEA-CAPA program, to having a solid group of lifelong friends. There have been many skills, experiences, and lessons that have improved my professional development as a business student.
In the business world, communication is an extremely important, if not the most important skill you can have if you can communicate effectively and efficiently. With coming to a new country there is a language and communication barrier that needed to be broken to achieve simple tasks such as ordering food and water, to finding the closest grocery store. At first, I really struggled with this cross-culture communication, and it started to bother me. I continued to practice every single day even though it was very difficult, I started to see results and gained a better knowledge of the culture I was experiencing. This experience “threw me to the wolves” and allowed me to improve my communication and cross culture communication skills and I believe that this is my biggest professional improvement as a business student with my six weeks in Florence.
Like I mentioned earlier, I did not know a single person while coming on this trip. This was very intimidating, and I did not have that person I could rely on to come with me to walk to class or get dinner with, but this was a blessing in disguise. Another important skill that I learned while on this trip that can apply to future opportunities is networking. Networking is a skill that can never be perfected, and everyone can always improve on. Most opportunities with internships, case competitions, etc come from a form of networking. With not knowing a single soul I was forced to network amongst my peers. I met students from universities across the country, with majors ranging from fellow business majors to political science and history to rehabilitation science. In theory, I met future CEO’s, lawyers, and doctors. One part of networking is meeting the person and establishing meaningful conversation with the individual, but another is adding value to the conversation. Another part of networking is staying in touch with that connection you have established.
Before this trip, I did not see how these two lifelong skills could be developed by studying abroad. Now, I am a firm believer that this trip as allowed me to grow these professional skills and can apply them in the future.