Name: Patrizia P.
Program: Marketing Internship
Location: Florence, Italy
What made you decide you wanted to participate in a program abroad?
Right after I graduated college I went straight to work. Almost 2 years later I realized I jumped into work life way too quickly, without giving myself enough time to learn who I am and figure out exactly what I am passionate about. I needed an opportunity to try something that would give me a clean slate, and World Endeavors offered me that.
What obstacles did you face prior to going abroad?
To be honest, I didn’t have any issues. World Endeavors walks you through the whole process; from applying to the program, to visas and also what to pack. I had lots of questions before I left: “what’s the cost of living?”, “how many roommates will I have?”, “how many hours will I be working”, and many more. World Endeavors is always happy to answer anything and really makes you feel assured before you start your program.
I chose Florence for several reasons. Firstly, I am half Italian. However, I was raised in Tanzania. So, doing the program in Florence allowed me to reconnect with my Italian roots. I also wanted to learn Italian, since it’s a beautiful language that I have always wanted to learn. How could I forget the relaxed lifestyle, great food and the fact that it’s a beautiful and historic city.
What has been your favorite part of your program so far?
Everything! I haven’t had one dull moment doing this program. It has been an amazing experience. I was very grateful to have been placed in a good internship. I honestly loved my job and colleagues. I was quickly given the opportunity to engage with clients, prepare proposals and follow meetings. Fortunately, I was also invited by the owners to Chantilly in Paris for an event they were working on. I spent 10 days working as their translator and secretary. I even got a chance to work on all the technical stuff, which I came to love. The trip was definitely a highlight of the program. I had an amazing experience and made great contacts.
Have you faced any obstacles in your host country?
In the beginning I needed some time to get comfortable with the language, but after a couple of weeks I started learning more words and spending more time with my Italian colleagues, which helped me practice and build my confidence with the language.
Another obstacle I initially faced was the food. Since I am vegan I was hesitant to eat anything but salads when I got to Florence. After meeting with some local vegans, I came to learn that there are lots of options on any local menu or vegan restaurants. I honestly never even needed to go to a vegan restaurant because there was always somewhere with options. I loved the traditional bread soups, pizza marinara and vegan sandwiches at the market. Yum.
Do you see your time abroad affecting your plans for the future? Have you seen any changes in yourself since you’ve been abroad?
My time abroad has opened doors for my future. After one month of my internship, I was offered a job. I was honored by the offer, but, unfortunately, I had other plans. I love Italy and the thought that I could possibly move here and work would be a complete life changer. Even though I decided not to take the job, I am now driven to keep exploring the world to learn and experience as much as I can.
Overall my experience here has given me great experience, language skills and marketing knowledge that can definitely better my future, whether I am looking to improve my CV or better myself in the society. I have become more independent and more self-aware, which has helped me clarify what my future goals are.
What advice would you offer to those thinking about doing a program abroad?
Go for it! Don’t even think twice. Whether you are on a gap year or just want to discover yourself, just do it. I am so happy I decided to do this program and I will never forget it. I have learned so much about myself, the city and Italian culture. I have made some lifelong friends and business contacts that I will keep in touch with forever. Everyone’s experience is different. Whether you end up loving it or not, you will definitely benefit from it in one way or another.
Any other comments or stories you’d like to share?
I love this city and I will definitely be back soon!