The Start of an Adventure

Hello, my name is Jason Rittman, and I am currently a rising Senior at The University of Pittsburgh. There I am pursuing a Finance Degree with a minor in Economics and a certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. After college I plan to pursue my Juris Doctor to become a practicing attorney specifically in real estate. I come from a small town near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Being around nature more due to the area surrounding my hometown has led me to enjoy hiking, along with my time as a boy scout. Some of my other hobbies include cooking and climbing. I am currently attending the Summer 2023 GBI Florence program, and there are many reasons that drew me to this program. For starters, my love of food can be embellished with all the different rich dishes and sauces that have come from Italy. There are also plenty of areas nearby for hiking, such as the trail connecting the 5 cities of Cinque Terre or the Alps in nearby Switzerland. The location of Florence on the mainland was quite appealing, as it would allow for the easiest and cheapest travel if I want to explore other nearby countries. I also am quite the history buff, and there are so many historical sites, monuments, structures, and artworks to see in Italy. There is such a large variety of moments in time that are captured in one way or another for us to see today, such as the Renaissance works in Florence, the ruins of Pompeii near Naples, or the magnificent Colosseum in Rome. There is so much for me to gain from my experience both professionally and personally. For starters, I have spent several years studying Spanish, and since Italian and Spanish are both romance languages, they are very similar, so I hope by indulging myself in the environment of a romance language that this will help to further grow my knowledge and fluency with the language. I also see the potential to grow my communication skills with people because of the language barrier I may run into with some people, as I will have to learn to communicate without actually using words. That will require me to put into practice my adaptation and problem solving skills, along with navigating in areas that do not have English signs or using transportation where I cannot always rely on all parties to be able to speak English while using it. These skills can be sharpened and used in both my professional and personal life when situations arise. I also believe that my time abroad will help me to grow my ability to understand all people no matter how different their way of thinking or background is. I want to learn about a culture and way of life that is different from my own. I am also taking cross-cultural psychology that will help me to better understand Italian culture and their way of living and thinking, so I believe that class will complement the goal I am trying to achieve. That class, along with the urban studies class that I am taking, will allow me to be a part time student my last semester, which will save me a significant amount of tuition cost in the future. My first couple weeks in Italy have been amazing. I loved the Italian food and how important diet is to them. I have also enjoyed the amazing sites that Italy has to offer. I went to the Piazzale Michelangelo, and the view was incredible. My professors and the CAPA staff have been wonderful. I also went to Cinque Terre and hiked there, and the scenery was beautiful. Most Italians that I have encountered and met have been very friendly, but there were definitely some that appeared to judge me for being American. I have attached a photo of myself, as well as a couple of my favorite photos from my first couple weeks in Italy!

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