Casa Museo Ivan Bruschi: Final

As my time at this internship is coming to a close, and I am having time to reflect on the impact that it has made in my life, it is necessary to go back to the beginning of who I was on this journey and where this all began. As a senior Psychology major, I have one main passion: people. And, throughout my involvement on campus I have found an excellent way to reach out to others is through event planning and communication. This led me to a museum in which I would get to try my hand at marketing, surveys, and ways to relate what I have been learning about in class into a working environment. Landing in this internship, I was bright eyed, nervous, and spoke very little Italian. The transition that I have undergone had been one of my favorite life journeys yet.

My everyday working environment at the museum is very relaxed, and very open and honest. I have taken on projects, that have been of my own creation, with guidance from those whom I work with. Each new challenge has been unique and has required a different set of skills, and that has broadened my horizon on the work I know I can accomplish. The museum is beautiful and eclectic, and I notice something else new every time I go in. It is full of life and stories in each piece that I walk by, and it is incredible that I get to help the people that helped make it possible. My supervisor is very helpful and critical in what she sees me accomplishing, which creates an environment in which I am learning and growing in each new task I receive. I get to work a lot independently, and this has broadened by abilities by learning from my mistakes and my accomplishments. I couldn’t have asked for a better environment to have warmed me up to the idea of living in Italy, and it has treated me so well.

This semester I have had the opportunity to start three major projects that I have taken on as a part of my internship. The first one I would like to introduce is a “Children’s Workbook” that I have been building for the younger visitors who go through the museum. While tours are given to the adults in groups, this workbook serves to entertain the children of the museum and make it a more interactive experience. This workbook is around 15 pages, gives historical facts about the museum and Ivan Bruschi, has pictures of paintings and artifacts they have to search for around the museum, and has drawing and word activities throughout the book that correspond to the fun facts surrounding those pieces from the museum. This book was an excellent example of getting out of my comfort zone to try something new. I was able to play with graphic design layouts, try out fonts and color schemes that made the workbook more interactive and enjoyable, and research interesting parts of the museum to get to highlight and teach. This was an excellent opportunity to learn more about the museum that I was a part of.

Another project I took on was setting up a tour from an English speaker’s perspective. This was to get perspective on how to best structure tours based off interest of items, layout of the museum, highlighting all of the collections that Ivan had, and telling his life story throughout the tour. When I was given the tour I was taken aback by the amount of items that were in this collection, and how each room told a different story. I wanted to capture that feeling of intrigue and awe in this new project, and also create a tour as a physical copy so that it could be used by future interns. I started this project by individually analyzing each room, highlighting main pieces that I saw which were interesting or told a story, and doing a lot of research on the museum’s online database. I was then able to connect the rooms in a story of Ivan Bruschi’s life, which narrated how each collection was so unique and peculiar in its own way, but also told the life of Ivan Bruschi through his interests, travels, and discoveries. The museum, as a house museum, is so unique and inspiring, and I wanted to be able to give feedback on how this can be portrayed to someone who knows nothing of this type of museum.

My main project is a research project that I began at the start of this semester. This took form of a questionnaire to be filled out by guests as they exit the museum. These questions highlighted sections such as demographics, main interests, main forms of social media used, draws of the museum, and overall experience. Each of these question sections lead to capturing the overall experience of guests, knowledge on how to better advertise, which type of items people are most interested in, what brought guests to the museum, and how they would describe the museum as a whole. This project started by researching what had been done in the past by other museums, and talking to my supervisor about the questions that mattered to them the most. I was able to draw in what I had learn from psychology and research methods courses over how to word questions and set up a survey without bias or intrusion. I then set up a spreadsheet that automatically created graphs based off the data we input, that we would use as we got in results. The last steps of this project will take form over the next month as I finish gathering the data, and then will get to interpret what the results mean. This is something I am very interested in, as I am now very familiar with the museum, but recognize that my bias and knowledge over the setup and antiques influence my overall experience. I look forward to interpreting the results to give the museum feedback on ways they can improve and knowledge on how the museum comes off to guests.

This experience has taught me individualized and beneficial skills, and has also taught me a lot about myself and given me feelings of comfort and a sense of home. While at the museum I get to feed my passions from learning and exploring, and get to discover new ways of instilling those passions into others. I get to create a new experience for myself everyday based off of the projects I choose to work on, the people I get to interact with, or the antiques I get to research. I get to work on skills such as graphic design, public speaking, and survey generations that I haven’t had the opportunity to explore in the past, that I now feel more confident in. I also get to tell the story of Ivan Bruschi through the work that I am doing which makes me feel so honored and important, as a voice for the museum I am so grateful to work for. There are so many ways that I have grown in confidence through learning a new language, taking on different roles, and communicating with my supervisors. This experience has been a great way to work and become more familiar with the Italian environment as a whole.

I have learned that working culture in Italy is rooted in family and community, and in the historic center, is mostly family owned. For shops and restaurants breaks are longer and the stores open later than in the US, but the timelines of companies are similar to that in the United States. The dress code is typically to a higher standard in Italy, but they use slang and hand motions in their working environments that we have an equivalency to in the US. Both environments foster hard work and a friendly working atmosphere to my experience. Brain drain is an issue that is faced in the country of Italy as work is hard to come by, and the experience of modern day workers may take them further out of the country than it would if they were to keep their talents in their communities. It is hard to justify studying or working somewhere if the conditions are not favorable, but there are steps being taken to try to keep work inside the country of Italy. Italy is a positive working environment, but people are not always satisfied with what comes with working in Italy. Italy has more holiday or sick days off, and a longer maternity leave, but the employment rate is declining. In America working days are typically longer, and you have fewer opportunities to take off, but it ranks higher in job satisfaction. There are both similarities and differences in the working environments of Italy and the United States, and it has been incredible to get to see both sides of the working culture.

Overall this internship has been an opportunity of a lifetime. I have a way to go with the work I want to finalize for the museum, but what I have completed has felt both fulfilling and challenging. I appreciate all the time and dedication put in by my supervisor to make sure that I am on the right track with my work and that I am comfortable with this experience. I really couldn’t have imagined a better fit for my experience that I was hoping to gain, and I am thankful that I got to know this part of Arezzo so well. I hope to keep in touch with this Museum and the work that they are doing, it’s ever-changing and always has an event to plan or a new exhibit to promote. Leaving this experience I won’t forget the impact it has had on my confidence and comfort here in Italy, and I know I will carry the traits and skills that I have earned through the rest of my work experience. I am so thankful for this opportunity, and would recommend it to anyone.

 

Casa Museo Ivan Bruschi: Similarities and Differences

With the experiences of working the United States, and now in Italy, I have an idea of the day to day life that people endure while in a working environment. Back home I work in the summers in the customer service field, and in Italy I have had an internship for a museum, and both jobs are very different in nature. With this being said, in both positions, I haven’t seen the full benefits of a working life; these benefits include: working schedules, days off, lunch breaks, and maternity leave.

With some research done, I can compare the two working environments of the United States and Italy. On average Italians have more working days off (whether is be for sick days or vacation days) than those who work in the United States. This could be attributed the more relaxed work structure here in Italy, and the importance of mental health that has been attributed to a positive work environment and having time to yourself. Italy also has a longer maternity leave than the United States on average. Also, the structure of time is different in some respects. Italian companies usually have similar working times to United States companies, but may have a longer lunch break. The main differences occur in smaller shops or family owned restaurants.

In the US most places are open from 9:00- 17:00 as a business day, with stores and shops open closer to 9:00- 21:00. Most Italian stores and restaurants open later and close earlier and have a mid-day closing time that lasts an hour or two. This allows for a longer lunch, time to restock merchandise, or time to run home. The United States does not have a longer period like this in the day. Also, smaller family owned places are less common in the city centers in the United States, as that is where major companies take place. The “historic centers” of cities are usually not in the center of the city like they are in Italy, they instead surround the more industrial part of the city. This is the opposite of Italy, where the historic center is in the middle of the city, surrounded by industries and companies.

My work experience has been very eye opening and has taught me the most about how to work with others, and how to treat customers in a working environment. In the United States I work with countless customers each day that may have complaints, issues with our location, or need assistance learning about our products, and I am always the one they go to. This has taught me to think quickly, problem solve efficiently, and train my employees in a way that is conducive to the morals of my work environment. This mindset is similar to the working mindset I have here in Italy regarding my internship. I often have to answer questions, build my own ideas on what I want to accomplish, and work with customers who I value highly and who I want to make sure have enjoyed their experience to the fullest.

There have been work situations, such as holidays off, maternity leave, and a scheduled working time (I work in shifts that change every day and differ week by week) that I have not had to experience yet. While the working conditions in Italy are more favorable if given the option, there is a larger unemployment rate in Italy than there currently is in the United States. While there are pros and cons to both working environments, and while there are multiple differences, I believe their similarities are more substantial. Both countries focus on working well with customers, and focus on creating a positive working environment for the employees that are present. I have been very grateful to have working experience in both fields, and the experiences that I have learned in both I will carry with me in my working field in the future.

Casa Museo Ivan Bruschi: Brain Drain

Brain Drain in the phenomenon that describes intelligent individuals moving to other countries if they believe they will have a better chance of finding work somewhere else, or be able to earn a better education in a different location. While this could be beneficial to the individual, this can be detrimental to the country in which they grew up. If you are mastering a field, and are able to give back to the community which helped foster your skills, but choose to leave to work somewhere else, this does not feed back into teaching others or helping others in your original location. This also serves to drain your community of the “top scholars” that you had at hand, which makes room for workers of lesser competence taking the jobs that are now available. In turn, this hurts the economy. But, if you would not get the paycheck you studied hard to earn, or be able to challenge yourself in the field that you are competing in, it is hard to justify staying in one place if it is a location that wouldn’t help you in the long run.

This issue is becoming a rising problem in the nation of Italy. 100,000 people left for a new country in 2015 alone, and these numbers are climbing as the years go by. The lack of supporting jobs available and money being earned leads to a low birth rate, and in turn a low birth rate leads to a populations lack of ability to grow its economy through work and funding. In this declining rate of economic growth, it seems like leaving could be the right option if you are considering your needs to support your family and yourself. Statistically, those who have left to work abroad have been “happier” in their new location. But, these facts do not mean that Italy is not a positive working environment or a great place to raise your children. Italy is currently undergoing a job crisis, which effects all aspects of daily life, but does not define the country as a whole. The government is currently taking steps to entice more Italians to stay in the country for education or work by creating incentives that would make it worth while to stay. They are recognizing the problem at hand, and are taking actions to try to better their current economic situation.

This feeds into our last topic discussing the decline in job availability, and high unemployment rate in Italy. If there are not companies that are successful, people who know how to get businesses started, or a stable enough environment to be conducive to economic growth, it is almost impossible to create jobs. This also plays into our earlier discussions on Italian national identity. If you do not feel as attached to your country, or personally driven to grow the economy where you are living, it makes it a much easier decision to leave. This is why it is important to educate your citizens on why these declines are happening, and the steps that could be taken to reverse these declines. If people know how they can affect the change in their own community where generations of their family has grown up, and can increase their national identity, then they may be more enticed to stay to better their home. It’s not an easy change to enact, and it has to be done over time, but the Italian government is currently working to improve this Brain Drain the country is experiencing.

Casa Museo Ivan Bruschi: Working Culture in Italy

Italian workforce seems to be split between the mindset that work is just a means to make profit, and that work is a way to develop personal skills. In Italian culture the Order of St. Benedict was to work and pray. You had the focus of contributing to society and to make a difference for your family. This can be related to the work force in the US, sometimes it feels like a good day’s work is all I need to accomplish for the day. But, work can feel like you’re in a rut if it’s not a job you’re passionate about, or a job you feel is growing your talents in any way.

Il lavoro nobilita l’uomo translates to work ennobles man. Work should be a force that builds up your potential and skills through working with others and challenging the way your brain thinks. Where I work back home I am challenged everyday with new problems that come up regarding the technology we are working with, the communication between our other departments, and the needs of our customers that have questions and are trying to learn how to get around. Interacting with my customers and other employees is what makes the job for me, and this has held true for my internship. Getting to know about the life of my supervisor, getting to talk to visitors about their experiences, and getting to work on projects that make it an even more enjoyable experience for the guests that come in, is what makes it all worth it.

My supervisors are always excited to come to work because they are passionate about the curating work they perform and light up whenever they are talking to guests because they are truly in love with the museum and their work environment. Currently in Italy there is a high scarcity of work, and so you are very lucky when you have a job that not only pays your bills but also fills your soul. A lot of jobs in the historical center of Arezzo are family owned, require good contacts and store fronts, and take the whole family or family friends to run. You have to know someone to get inside a job like that, be born into it, or have a degree that allows you to start your own business. In Italy the job market has been declining as the years have gone by, and it reflects the struggle a lot of modern day countries are running into. It is hard to predict how the job market will either continue to be in a decline of jobs or if it will start to climb back up. These conditions are caused by so many external factors that influence Italy in ways that make it hard to guess when it will start to get better.

There are so many positive aspects to the work environment here that I have seen differ from the United States. Here it is not uncommon for offices or shops to close around lunch time for families to each lunch and take a break, then to return to their offices to open for the rest of the day until dinner. Afternoon espressos are common, and encouraged, and it is important to take sick days if you are not feeling well. Here you have a longer maternity leave regulated by law, and a certain amount of sick days and vacation days for when you need off. This keeps the environment fresh whenever you need a break instead of feeling like it is taking over your life. A job should grow you and inspire you, it should not drag down your spirits.

Casa Museo Ivan Bruschi: Midterm

I wanted to begin this next post by elaborating more on the incredible museum that I get to be a part of each day. This museum is, at it’s heart, a dedication to the incredible Ivan Bruschi. This museum highlights his findings, work space, and atmosphere of unknown adventure as you walk from floor to floor admiring the displays. This museum is full of sculptures, paintings, furniture, coins, books, household gadgets, clothing, and so much more from all over the world in an expansive timeline. It is seen in a way that everything has meaning as its eclecticism is celebrated through individual set-ups of each unique room and display. While this museum is diverse… its continuity and cohesion is impeccable and inviting.

This museum offers guided tours, history lessons for local children with their very own antique hunter leading the way, concerts and formal events, and also an exhibit space that is constantly changing that currently holds an exhibit on the Chimera of Arezzo. Along with the Casa Museo Ivan Bruschi, the Bruschi Foundation also rotates exhibitions in the Galleria Bruschi located in the Piazza de San Francesco. Even though I have just spent a month in this museum, my view and appreciation of the city of Arezzo has expanded exponentially.

My first project that Elisabetta and I have created is a satisfaction survey that is used to discover the opinions and ideas guests have for the museum, so we know what changes to make involving social media and displays. I began by working side by side with my supervisor, asking her questions, to discover what she was hoping to gain from this survey, and narrowed that our main findings needed to cover were who came to the museum, how they heard about the museum, what they thought of the attractions, and how they could describe their overall experience.

By knowing the demographics of our audience, we will be able to determine who we are needing to cater the museum environment for regarding age, location, and language spoken. Through advertising questions we can learn the best way to reach our audience through the social media we use, the events that we hold, and their preferred forms of communication. We sought out to learn about the attractions we provide so we know which ones to display, which ones to elaborate on during tours, and which to use in our advertisements. Lastly, overall experience is important so we can learn if what we are trying to portray is what is being portrayed. In our circumstance we are hoping our audience feels welcomed, that our work is unique and eclectic, and that their experience was interactive and informational.

I was able to create and design this survey to gage these topics, as well as create a program that will allow us to compare these survey results through graphs being created as we input our results. By voicing my opinion on what should modified, using my knowledge of research statistics to formulate questions and design the questionnaire, and by honestly communicating with my supervisor regarding my skillset and opinions, we were able to create a very informational survey, that I cannot wait to interpret my results for.

Throughout the process of working on this first project, being assertive was a necessity. There were many moments that I had to take a chance by sharing what I have learned from my research methods courses, be brave in trusting my confidence in the information I was sharing, and to not hold back when I thought of a way this process could become more efficient or more accurately gain the answers we were trying to research. Being assertive isn’t about being aggressive, but is instead more guided toward speaking up when there are issues in communication or you are confused about a certain task, and not being afraid to share ideas and thoughts that you think could be of use and represent who you are.

There are many do’s and don’ts when working in a new environment, and especially when you are working somewhere that is completely different in language, culture, and lifestyle. When working it Italy is always important to speak up when you are having a hard time closing the language gap. You learn the language as you go, but it is better to clarify an issue early, than to be guessing what was correct later. It is also very important to dress and act professionally while you are at work, as it has a higher standard of fashion that in the United States, and it is important to dress accordingly when you show up to work with guests or employs of the program that you are representing. Also, don’t expect for things to always work in a perfectly timed manner in Italy. Timelines are much more flexible, as most restaurants, museums, and shops are owned by locals who are used to dealing with traffic or taking off for lunch with their families. On occasion you may show up to work at a scheduled time and it may not be open yet, or your supervisor had to step out. It is important to keep the Italian perspective in mind when you are working in Italy.

For my next museum projects I am restructuring the guided tours that the museum gives to English speakers, as well as creating a children’s workbook so they can work through the guided tour while having a more interactive experience with the art and antiques. Having a fluent English speaker can come in handy at a museum that gets a lot of international travelers. Their main languages that are spoken by visitors are: Italian, English, French, German, and Spanish. There is currently not a tour system put in place at the museum. Typically whoever is at the front desk at that time, who has time to spare can walk around and explain the collections to guests, or if someone reserves time for a tour, whoever is working that speaks that language can give the tour or hand out pamphlets in that language to the guests. By having a written tour typed out, it can later be translated into different languages that can be learned by any other worker or intern that is eager to give tours.

The idea of giving tours was something I was really passionate about. I love giving tours around the University of Oklahoma to incoming freshman, and I love the customer service aspects of my job back home, and the idea of making others feel at home (in a museum set up as a home) is very appealing. I started to create these tours by looking through the museum catalogs of the types of collections we have at the museum, such as the Egyptian collection or the coin collection that we have present. I then mapped out the museum, and targeted the main attractions of each room. I went from room to room and typed out the major collections that were present in that section of the museum, and then included the attractions that stood out in the section. It was important to me to also tell the story of the museum and Ivan Bruschi by incorporating his daily life, the meaning of the room that we were in, and the way he shaped each collection as we came across each piece of history.

I am also creating a children’s workbook for the museum in English, that can also be translated into different languages for guests. This workbook will include games that require the children to find certain paintings in the room, draw a certain sculpture that they see in front of them, draw something that they collect at home, and give brief history lessons through learning vocabulary that we use around the museum. This creates an engaging environment for children, so they are actually learning, but they just see it as playing games.

Through working on these tours, it was essential to keep in mind the aspects of multiculturalism that we learned in our internship meetings. We are working in an environment that we may not feel comfortable in, we are already past the honeymoon phase, we are experiencing culture shock, and we have to keep our minds set on succeeding in a place where we cannot always understand what is asked of us. While this process sounds scary, the main thing to keep in mind is to put yourself in the shoes of who you are working with. If you are concerned that you cannot understand the language that is used, change the pace of the conversation, because they are probably having a hard time understanding you too. If you are worried if you are performing a job incorrectly, ask for help, because they are probably unaware that the might not have been clear on a topic. If you are having issues with scheduling, ask them if there are other tasks you may need to complete or if you can come in early or stay late, because they may not know the options that you have to work with. Keep open in communication, and keep an open mind.

Idiomatic expression and differences in gestures were also important to keep in mind when creating these tours. Italians use a lot of phrases that translate differently in their language, but mean a similar thing to the says we have here. For example, “in bocca al lupo” means good luck in the same way that “break a leg” does in America. When creating tours it was important to incorporate sayings that gave value and information on the local culture that visitors were experiencing. Also, in Italy, there are a lot more hand gestures used in normal conversation. So, when describing artifacts it was very important to be vivid and accurate in describing the message I was trying to convey. As well as, if  Italian speakers come into the museum, it is helpful that I can say “hold on one minute, please wait here, I will be right back” with only hand gestures.

Cultural points I have found interesting about the museum include the openness and boldness in conversation. If there is an idea that is going to be thrown out, each director isn’t afraid to share their opinion in a very open manner. I really appreciate that they do not hold back because it shows their passion for the overall success of the museum. The workplace is very inviting and welcoming, even if I can only hold small talk with some of my coworkers. Everyone is eager to help each other, and help me feel included when we are solving problems and collaborating on ideas. My supervisor is extremely understanding and has great guidance on what she wants me to achieve with each task that I am assigned.

One aspect that I would find appealing in a competing museum, and that I think could improve this museum as a whole, would be more information regarding how to follow their social media and calendars that include all of the events that they hold. I am lucky to be in a museum that also functions as a concert hall and accepts traveling art displays, and I think it would be helpful for people to know how to get more information about upcoming attractions. I would recommend to post more information on how to follow their social media sites on pamphlets and signs around the museum and the city, and create a calendar that is sent out in newsletters, to better spread this information. Overall, this experience has been one of a lifetime, and I can’t wait to see how I continue to grow in this role.

Casa Museo Ivan Bruschi: Multiculturalism

As this internship has progressed, and I have been more assertive with my communication and insight, this museum has evolved into a home in Arezzo for me. I am comforted by the history that surrounds me, blown away by the hardworking nature of my supervisors, and have seen the impact that my internship has on the community. I feel more confident in the opinions I can share, and I am being utilized more and more each day as I am learning the ins and outs of this unique and eclectic museum.

These past couple weeks I have moved from working on a visitor response survey, to restructuring the tours given at the museum, and also creating a workbook for kids so they can have an engaging experience with the antiques. I am getting to work with research, how guests perceive the museum around them, demographics, social media, and trying to quantify feelings, and it has so far been very fulfilling work. My next steps will be working on giving the tours myself, and gathering and interpreting the data from the surveys that are being completed. At times planning can be difficult; it is always a puzzle when we are comparing my class and meeting schedule to the museums hours and event schedule… But when I am working in the museum, I am lucky to be very passionate about the work that I am doing, and I always leave feeling accomplished.

Over the past few weeks of trial and error, I believe I am settling into the “feeling at home” phase of the cultural adjustment process. My “honeymoon” phase was quick but sweet as I was touring the museum and gallery, and getting to learn about the antiques that I would be writing about. The “culture shock” hit very quickly… As I would be greeted by guests, but could only hold small talk in Italian, it hit me how out of my comfort zone I was. My “gradual adjustment” to this new home of mine grew when I started to focus on the work that I was trying to complete, and challenging myself in phrases of Italian as I would hear them being spoken in the work place.

It Italy there are many phrases that can be useful in a working environment, such as simply saying “In bocca al lupo,” to wish someone good luck. “One example of a workplace conversation could be as follows:

Jess: “Vuoi che venga domani presto?”

Elisabetta: “Sì, Chi dorme non piglia pesci!”

Jess: “Va bene! Perché spero di finire il mio progetto.”

Elisabetta: “Uomo avvisato, mezzo salvato.”

Jess: “Vero, e questo progetto può richiedere tempo!”

In this conversation, Elisabetta is using a common Italian saying to let me know that I should come in early tomorrow, “because he who sleeps cannot catch fish.” And, if I know my project is going to take a long time, I should be in early to prepare, because it is best to be “forewarned to be forearmed.”

It is sometimes very difficult to feel at home when you are in a foreign place where you do not speak the language. Trying to learn a language is hard from scratch because “tra il dire e il fare c’é di mezzo il mare.” It is one thing to say you are going to learn another language, but it is a much harder task to commit to practicing it often and being open to embarrassment.  It is all about perspective when you are learning or teaching something new. When there is miscommunication, or you are not understanding what your supervisor is trying to convey, it is important to not take things too personally. Work hard on what you can, memorize phrases and a lot of hand gestures, and be proactive and assertive in your learning. You will start to feel at home in no time.

Casa Museo Ivan Bruschi: Assertiveness

Hello, my name is Jessica Garner, and I am a senior this year at the University of Oklahoma on the Pre-Physical Therapy track with a Major in Psychology and a Minor in Biology. With this being said, I have a passion for how people think and learn, how they interact with others, what they find interesting, and how to create a world in which people feel included and intrigued.  This semester I wanted to expand my interest in others, and myself, by studying abroad in Arezzo at the OUA Study Center. Along with taking classes toward my graduation, I also have an internship this semester at the Casa Museo Ivan Bruschi, which is what this blog will mainly be about. But, enough about me…


The Casa Museo Ivan Bruschi is what the name implies: It is a museum, that is set in the home of the renowned eclectic antique collector, Ivan Bruschi. Ivan Bruschi passed away in 1996 with the hope that his collection, and story of a life well traveled, be passed onto others to be learned from over the years. My supervisor at the museum is Elisabetta Bidini, and she is the Activity and Resource Coordinator for the museum. She is incredibly well versed in museum curation and art history, and she creates an environment in which the art is interactive and the museum is a place of discovery and story-telling.

This first week in our internship class we have discussed being assertive. This is not to be confused with the type of assertiveness that requires you to be demanding and loud, but instead is promoted as a way to “advocate for yourself,” a task that is not always easy when you are in a new environment. Throughout these months as an intern we are to not only grow as humans, but also improve our places of work. This can only be accomplished if we are not afraid to speak up when we have ideas that could better our work environment, be bold in sharing if we have an opinion on the direction of an idea being thrown out, and create an environment in which opinion in celebrated through attitude and collaboration.

We discussed some major differences in environment in our last meeting that can effect our work place. For example, in a working environment appearance is held at a higher standard than it is in America. It is always important to dress nicely, not have wet hair into work, not have clothing that is wrinkled, and to hold yourself in a professional manner. It is very common here to have an afternoon espresso, instead of an afternoon coffee, to have a quick and easy pick-me-up while you are working. Italy is also more casual when it comes to being late, as opposed to Americans. It is important to always notify a supervisor if you are running very late of course, but also do not be surprised if meeting times have to change last minute, lunches run a little long, or if traffic slows down your commute.

The main focus in our last meeting was communicating and contributing with purpose. When communicating what you need or want it is important to do so honestly, calmly, and directly. This way problems are being solved efficiently, both sides of the conversation are understood and meaningful, and you are showing your care and respect for your working environment. Practice makes perfect when you are forming bonds and sharing ideas in your internship, but it is always important to be proactive for influence.

The actions that you take in this internship not only reflect upon  yourself, but also the University of Oklahoma, and the OUA Study Center. It is important to build a relationship with your internship that betters yourself, your working environment, and the Arezzo community though open communication, respect and insight, and being assertive in your influence.