With arriving back in the states, I am doing some reflecting on my six weeks in Italy. These six weeks went so quickly, and I learned so much information about all sorts of Italian culture, cuisine, architecture, you name it. The most interesting information I experienced while abroad was the dining experience. First off, dinner is typically much later than in the states around eight to nine in the evening. Compared to the fast-paced dining experience we all know; Italian dinners are typical hours long. There are several dishes ordered throughout dinner. Typically, you will mix and match a total of two dishes to eat whether that would be an antipasti (a light before dish similar to an appetizer), a primi (a soup, pasta, or rice dish), or a secondi (a meat or fish based dish). There is also a section on menus with cortorni (side dishes). This took my surprise as I traditionally would get one dish when I dined. I honestly prefer two small dishes over a longer period compared to one large portion dish found in the states.
I feel that I developed the most personally during this trip. Before coming on the trip, I did not know a single person, and that scared me. Traveling by yourself to a foreign country that you have never visited before was something that almost made me not go through with this amazing experience. I ended up meeting students from all over the country and from all different backgrounds. These people and I shared experiences like traveling to different cities in Italy, to many tours of breathing places like the Coliseum, Pompeii, and Mount Vesuvius. I will continue to stay in touch with them for a very, very long time into the future.
With meeting these new people, I feel that I also grew professionally. You could say that meeting new people and establishing a meaningful connection is a form of networking. Another professional development I believe that I have gained and the most important in my opinion is cross cultural communication. With being abroad in a non-majority English speaking country it was difficult to adjust. Normal tasks were made difficult, and it was somewhat of a culture shock. I did not get overwhelmed and continued to communicate to the best of my ability. Overtime, I began to communicate effectively, and this is a useful skill in any job. I believe that I will be able to take these two professional skills learned and bring them back to Pitt Business and continue to polish these skills.