A Pre-Departure Hello!

Hello, my name is Maryrose! I am a Chemical engineering student at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering. I am from West Chester, PA but am excited to spend this summer traveling with the Pitt Plus3 Program to various cities in Italy (Milan, Florence, Venice, Verona, and Como)!

Foreign travel is a new experience for me. While I have always dreamed of traveling around the world, it is still hard to believe we are leaving soon! However, being eager for travel does not prepare me for travel, especially overseas. Therefore, the pre-departure meetings were critical in not only learning the technicalities of our academic topic (supply chain management) but mentally prepping us as well.

Because many of us are first-time travelers, it was important that we become accustomed with the aspects of travel and getting acquainted with a new culture. Some key travel tips were packing light, prepping for money exchange, and knowing where to find emergency resources. Sitting down to enjoy a meal, drinking a coffee at the bar, and trying over 100 different types of pasta are all everyday activities enjoyed in Italy that I am very much looking forward too. Instead of tipping at restaurants, tipping is expected at airports and restrooms. However, one fact that remains the same in a foreign country is the importance of safety and traveling in groups, hence the importance of introducing ourselves at the very first meeting. It was great to meet everyone I would be traveling with.

Just a few tips were not enough to prepare us for our trip abroad, so we further investigated the culture of Italy in groups and studied our academic focus of supply chain management.

We are grouped into 5 small groups and my group focused on the values and attitudes of the Italian people. This was a very interesting aspect of Italian culture to research about because it is the backbone of the Italian people. Family and loyalty are the two main concepts I got out of my research. These are admirable characteristics to have. Italian people rely on their families for trust, friendship, favors, and even business. There is a great emphasis on working on friendships and treating friends like family. I hope to experience these Italian family attributes in Italy by talking to locals and maybe even making a friend!

While traveling itself is a learning experience, the academic focus of our trip is supply chain management. The supply chain management was a new concept to me, but as an avid learner I was excited to challenge myself.  Supply chain management is efficiently organizing the production and distribution of goods and services for a market. There are many decisions that companies must make for its supply chains; but currently, the most important issue companies are dealing with is incorporating sustainability. I am looking forward to making the Italian site visits and understanding how all of these concepts apply to them. It will be interesting to see how the business and manufacturing components of these companies work together to produce a successful product.

After a few meetings, I am prepared to travel and even more excited to apply all the things I have learned on our trip to Italy and experience even more!



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