Food Studies in Italy: My Goals

I’ve set many goals for myself to (hopefully) accomplish during my three weeks in Florence, and I think I am already starting to make headway on most of them!

Academically, I want to further my knowledge in gender studies. At the University of Pittsburgh, I am a Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies minor, so I have some background knowledge in gender studies and also a strong interest in studying gender. In Food Studies in Italy, one of the courses we are taking is called Politics of Gender and Food (GSWS 1180). I’m excited to start the coursework in this class because I think it will be really interesting to be able to apply the knowledge I already have in gender studies in the context of food, something I haven’t studied before.

My main professional goal of this program is to grow my communication skills. Traveling to a country I’ve never been to before with a group of people, most of which I didn’t previously know, is no easy task and has challenged me. On top of that, Italian is the primarily language in Florence, and I have no experience in Italian. My communication skills have been tested since I arrived at the Pittsburgh airport, but I know they will only grow stronger throughout my time in Florence! Being in contact with my classmates, professors, and native Florentines has already and will continue to lead me to stronger communication skills, which is highly valued in the professional world.

Personally, I hope to work on my willingness to escape my comfort zone, as well as making new friends and forming meaningful relationships with my classmates in Florence. Our program is pretty small, with only 25 students, and I’m already aware of a growing sense of community between us all. We are split up into different apartments across Florence in groups of 4 roommates, but every day we are kept busy spending time together, whether that be for class, day trips, or hanging out for fun. Even though I’ve only known the majority of my classmates for a few days, we have quickly formed bonds that I know will only grow stronger as the program continues.

A group of my classmates and I at a traditional balsamic vinegar vineyard in Modena, Italy

It’s encouraging to recognize that I am already making progress in many of the goals I have set for myself for this program, and I am excited to be able to look back and reflect here once my program concludes!

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