I am finally back at home in New Jersey following my study abroad program in Florence, Italy through GBI Florence and the CAPA Center. During this program, I had the opportunity to complete coursework in Renaissance Art History and Analyzing and Exploring the Global City. These two classes provided me with extensive information on Florence’s history while allowing me to gain a new perspective of the city that shaped my time abroad. I went to several museums, churches, and destinations around the City Center during these courses that enhanced my abroad experience drastically. I am so appreciative of these on-site visits and for my knowledgeable professors.
I also had the opportunity to travel on the weekends throughout my program outside of Florence. I took trips to Siena, Milan, Pisa, Elba Island, Croatia, and Cinque Terre during my program, and I also explored Rome, Montalcino, and Venice with my family once the program ended. Traveling around Italy and to Croatia were some of the most invaluable experiences throughout my time abroad. Navigating the train stations, airports, and different cities was difficult yet rewarding, and these experiences heightened my awareness, curiosity, and flexibility. I faced some language barriers while traveling, but it was a fun experience to try and communicate with people using broken Italian and Google Translate. Aside from these travels, I also had the chance to delve into Florence and its history and cuisine. During my free time, I would try new restaurants, visit museums, take long walks, and visit markets. Some of my favorite moments were times when I would wander the streets and observe new things and places. With all of these experiences comes so much personal growth, and all of these skills that I have strengthened throughout my time abroad translate to my academic and professional career. Open-mindedness, adaptability, and communication, to name a few, are some things that I have improved upon drastically throughout this short time in Florence, which I can bring to Pitt Honors and my future career.
I want to thank the sponsors of my scholarship for allowing me to experience Florence and Italy for six weeks. This program was an invaluable experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I could not have anticipated all of the growth, friendships, and memories I have made in such a short amount of time. I cannot begin to express how deeply grateful I am for this opportunity.
For anyone reading this, I highly encourage you to study abroad (in Florence!), or to visit Florence and Italy and travel Europe if you are not in college. There is so much to explore about Florence which in turn will provide you with so many insights about yourself. You will see so much personal growth in such a short amount of time. You will immerse yourself into a new culture and experience new ways of life. You will see some of the most beautiful places you have ever been. Trust me on this one, it’s worth it.
– Alexis Hammer