Homecoming After Living Out a Dream

Apr 27, 2017 1:30:00 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 her final post, Danya reflects on why studying in Florence was so important to her, and how she feels about being back in the US after her expeirence.


During the first meeting with my academic adviser, I mentioned that I was deeply interested in fashion advertisement and international travel for my career.  Despite that fact that I’ve never taken an Italian language course or was familiar with Italian culture, I followed my advisor’s suggestion to take an Italian class freshman year. We both agreed that studying Italian for my language concentration and studying abroad in Italy would expose me to the right career path. Taking four semesters of Italian took me completely out of my comfort zone and challenged me to develop into a well-rounded student that I strive to be.  But that was nothing close to what my study abroad experience has done for me.

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Studying at the Global Business Institute in Florence was my final step to complete my certificate of International Business. Personally, I learn most effectively through hands-on experiences.  Studying internationally provided various ways for me to not only learn about, but also directly experience other countries economies, marketing techniques, social norms, and perspectives that completely differ from that in the U.S.  Inside the classroom, the semester-long projects in collaboration with other CAPA students located around the globe gave me a taste of what working in a multinational company would be like. Both my international economy class and modern Italian culture class has given me a closer look at past and current events of countries I had no idea about.  Before studying abroad, I thought I had a good grasp on the world’s current events; I read the news articles and paid attention.  But, being close to many other countries in proximity gives you first hand knowledge.  It was particularly interesting to be in Europe during the Brexit vote.  I was able to hear opinions of British and European people and how the new decision will effect their lives.  I learned how a multinational company with business in Britain would react. Overall, I have gained a sense of reassurance for my professional future; a reassurance that I am doing something I am passionate about and a reassurance that I have the potential be successful in it.    

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Studying abroad in Italy has always been a dream of mine since I remember (or watched the Lizzie McGuire Movie).  The thought of departing from Italy leaves me with a pit of sadness in my stomach, however I feel so proud of myself for achieving a goal that is very important to me and will be a big part of my life.  But now that I’ve achieved that major goal, what do I do?  I have one more year of classes then I graduate and become an adult (!).  Before studying abroad, the thought of doing that could not be more intimidating and seemingly impossible.  Now, I’ve learned to love independence and having the freedom to live, travel, and be responsible for myself.  I am excited to start this new chapter in my life and feel equipped both personally and professionally.  If I can navigate myself through a foreign country with culture/language barriers, then I sure can kick butt in this interview or figure out how to pay taxes!

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I’m interested to see what it will be like getting used to the U.S. again. Renaissance cathedrals will be replaced with Starbucks and I’ll actually be able to ease drop conversations, but other than that I am not sure what to expect from my reverse culture shock.  Yes, I know I am sounding exceedingly dramatic, but I brushed off the warning for culture shock when arriving in Italy and boy was I wrong.  This time I’m not making the same mistake.  After adjusting, I think I will finally see how I’ve truly grown as a person. Ciao Firenze, I’ll miss you and I promise this won’t be the last time I see you!

Thanks Danya!

Danya's journey continues every Thursday so stay tuned!

Learn More about the CAPA Florence Program

Topics: Florence, Italy, Life After Study Abroad