Italy Here I Come!

Hi everyone! My name is Cassie Smith and I am an accounting and finance major in the College of Business Administration at Pitt! I am from a small town about an hour from Pittsburgh, called Blairsville. My first trip out of the country is rapidly approaching and I am very excited, but nervous for this experience. Having never been out of the country, this will be like a whole new world for me. Luckily, I had some prep during the pre-trip meetings. During these meetings, we learned the essentials for our trip, from what to pack to aspects of supply chain.

A very important topic we covered was the Do’s and Don’ts of Italy. We learned things like to wait to exchange your currency until we get over there, to use mostly cash, and that you don’t tip at restaurants. Also, we learned about the dangers that are probable to encounter such ass pick pocketing and other types of theft that are extremely common in Italy. These helpful hints will be very useful just about every day while I’m in Italy. Learning the customs and small tips like this will help me to fit in better and not insult the Italians. I feel it is very important to adapt yourself to a new country when going there and not expect them to adapt to you. It is also important to learn about their values, religions, and the type of culture they live in. We also learned about these things in our pre-trip meetings and even extended our knowledge to their government structure. Not only is it important not to insult them, this information can also be used to start conversations and to sound educated and like I did my research.  This will also be true when we do the site visits at the Italian companies. Since every group presented on each company, I know background on all the companies and what to expect to see when we visit there. Not only did we learn background from the presentations, but we also learned about more in depth aspects of the companies, like their place in the supply chain, sustainability, the type of companies they are and the different processes they use in their companies. To help us understand how the companies fit in the supply chain, we first learned about the different parts of the supply chain and what each of them did and how it all worked together. With all of this newly learned knowledge, we prepared questions for each company to show them that we did our research beforehand and were really interested in their company! By having questions already ready, we do not have to spend time while in Italy trying to come up with questions, this is just one of the many benefits of the pre-trip meetings.

Most importantly of all, these meetings helped me to get to know the people I will be traveling with, students and professors. From listening to the all about me presentations to just spending time with them at the meetings, this made me more comfortable to travel with them. I got to know the group I worked with especially well, just by spending more time with them. Also by doing the group projects, I now know them not only personally, but academically, I learned how they work and think. This is essential if I want to have a good travel experience, the people you travel with can really make or break your trip. I believe that I will make great friends through this experience, especially after spending two weeks in a foreign country with them. I will get to know them even better after doing a bunch of fun activities with them in Italy. It was great learning about all the fun and educational things we can do in the meetings, so we know exactly what we want to do when we get there and don’t waste a second of this great experience. These meetings also helped me come up with solutions to questions that I didn’t even know I had, this really eased my mind about the whole traveling experience. Another thing I found helpful was that we talked about strategies to overcome any struggles we may face while there. Especially this is my first time traveling out of the country, I anticipate that I will encounter most of these struggles and use these techniques to help me overcome them.

To conclude, I am so excited to be leaving in a few short days and put all this newly learned knowledge to use. By covering all aspects from social to educational to survival, I believe I am truly prepared for the trip. I am excited to get to learn even more with the real life situations I will encounter. I can’t wait to share this great experience with everyone and make memories that I will never forget. Italy here I come!

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