A Few Ways I Made the Most of My Semester Abroad

Apr 6, 2017 5:30:00 PM / by Julie Ritz

CAPAStudyAbroad_Florence_Spring2017_From Danya Carithers - Square.jpgDanya Carithers is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2017, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A marketing major at the University of Pittsburgh, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.

In this week's post, Danya tells us three ways in which she made sure to make the most of her time abroad in Florence.


I wake up to the sun shining through my large window and the faded sounds of shopkeepers opening up their doors.  I rush to get ready and quietly run out the door, down the staircase and onto the street.  My street is towards the outside of the city, so the sidewalk is remarkably empty with the exception of a few parents trying to get their kids to school on time.  I stop in at a café and order myself a cappuccino and croissant with the limited amount of Italian language skills that I have.  As I walk closer to the city center, the streets begin to fill up more with bicycles ringing at people to move out of the way.  I pass a girl carrying an art bag twice her size who is always walking to her school the same time as me.

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My walk to school every morning is one of the best memories of my semester. Its simple and describes how enjoyable my every day life is here in Florence.  Before the semester, I made it a goal to take full advantage of my study abroad experience and to not take any part of it for granted.  With only three weeks left of the program, I truly feel as though I’ve succeeding in completing this goal, which has helped me grow exponentially as a person and a professional. Here are some ways in which I made the most of semester abroad:

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1. I Chose the Perfect Program

I am lucky that my university has a seemingly endless amount of study abroad opportunities, but it made it challenging to chose the right program for me.  So I asked myself why I want to study abroad.  As a business student, I wanted to go somewhere that not only provided business classes but also the opportunity to learn about business cultures I wouldn’t be used to.   I have always wanted to travel to Europe since I was a little girl and have had an interest in fashion and art.  CAPA in Florence is the perfect fit for me because it provides the classes I want for International Business and offers a place for me to learn more about the fashion and art industry.

2. I Decided to Go Alone

When I the study abroad orientation at my university in the States I noticed the most people around me had friends they were sitting next to.  I have to admit that studying abroad with your best friends or partner sounds absolutely amazing, but allowing myself to experience the semester on my own gave me the freedom to explore what I wanted and get to know new people.  While I already consider myself as fairly independent person, I’ve been able to prove to myself that I can handle much more than I initially thought.  

3. I Take My Classes Seriously

Like I said previously, I am taking classes that are vital to my educational and career path.  My class projects closely resembled what working for a multinational company would be like, which reassured me in what I was passionate about professionally.  I had some days where I would rather be eating gelato at Ponte Vecchio instead of writing a case study analysis inside, but overall I find all my classes intriguing and useful for my future.

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My semester abroad is flying by and wish that I never have to leave.  But, I know that I will always remember everything that I’ve seen and done and put it to good use.  I know that this won’t be the last time I will travel abroad and even have plans to possibly work abroad in the future.  I can’t wait to see what these last three weeks have in store for me!

Thanks Danya!

Danya's journey continues every Thursday so stay tuned!

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Topics: Florence, Italy, Goals Abroad