Jeff Whitehead

Pitt in London (Spring 2002)
A lot of clichés are valuable here. You should just do it. No experience is perfect, and they are all what you make of them. Don’t expect to be handed everything as then you miss out on the fun of figuring things out on your own. 

Jeff Whitehead

Pitt in London (Spring 2002)
I believe that studying abroad is the most powerful experience that you can have as a college student – and it may very well be the only opportunity in your life to have it. You grow in just about every facet of your being, professionally, personally, culturally, and globally. 

Jeff Whitehead

Pitt in London (Spring 2002)
I like the traditions that have prevailed but have been modernized over the course of hundreds of years, theater, the Sunday roast, and the multi-cultural dynamic of such a global city as London. 

Jeff Whitehead

Pitt in London (Spring 2002)
When hiring, I always look for the following skills: patience, adaptability, flexibility, creative problem solving, language ability, public speaking skills, strong writing skills. Functional area expertise is teachable, some of those other things are learned through experience. 

Jeff Whitehead

Pitt in London (Spring 2002)
Do not rely on others to do the work for you. Take initiative and learn. There are a lot of good people with good hearts giving you a ton of good information. However, it is up to you to learn it, decompress what it means to you, and search for more. The more independent you are in the initial preparatory phase, the less you will be surprised by the fact that not everything works out the way you had planned (not just in study abroad but in life itself) and that adaptability and creative problem solving can be the difference between sitting in your apartment all day and truly experiencing another place and culture. 

Swetha Jasti

PItt in Cuba (Summer 2018)
I chose to study abroad because I was looking to have a classroom experience that was different from what I would have in Pittsburgh. The classes that we took on Cuban history and film gave us the opportunity to learn first-hand about the rich Cuban culture. Then, we got to go out and apply this knowledge as we explored the city of Havana. I thought that the opportunity to do this was so unique and special, and it was one of the main reasons I chose to study abroad- I really believe it was the best way to learn about but also experience a new culture. I also chose to study abroad in Cuba to improve my Spanish comprehension and conversation skills.

Swetha Jasti

PItt in Cuba (Summer 2018)
Communicating in a second language taught me to focus on listening to understand rather than to respond. The first few weeks in Cuba, listening to a different dialect of Spanish challenged me to pay closer attention. This listening practice helped me build my understanding of Spanish, but also helped me build my communication skills overall. These communication skills are helpful in my job as an EMT where I can develop a better understanding of a patient’s medical background by listening intently. 

Swetha Jasti

PItt in Cuba (Summer 2018)
It really enjoyed the classes that we got to take in Cuba. The professors at the University of Havana were extremely knowledgeable and I learned so much about Cuban history and culture. My favorite memory in particular was going to the local university’s film school during our Cuban film course to watch student-made films. It was really interesting to see art that students our age are making in the cultural and social context of Cuba.

Swetha Jasti

PItt in Cuba (Summer 2018)
Try as many new things as you can while abroad, and have an open mind. Get a travel book or do some research on the city you will be staying in to see what your study abroad country/city has to offer. Don’t be afraid to talk to new people, try new food, or see new places because that is the best way to learn as much as possible.

Swetha Jasti

PItt in Cuba (Summer 2018)
I think that studying abroad allows for the opportunity to truly understand the culture and history of a country. Attending classes in a new place for an extended period of time allows students to have an immersive experience where they are able to learn about a culture from multiple dimensions. This cultural awareness is an integral part of a college education and allows the opportunity for students to become better global citizens. Also, studying abroad is a great way to step out of your comfort zone and explore a subject that you might not otherwise. While I was not as comfortable with my Spanish conversation skills, abroad I had more opportunities to practice the language and this helped me to gain confidence to speak Spanish during the trip and after returning to the US.