Bridgit Smith

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

University of Pittsburgh | Bradford

Heinz Programming Area:
My name is Bridgit Smith, I am a student at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. I am a Sociology major and have a minor in Anthropology and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s studies. I am hoping to work in the humanitarian field in the future. In my free time I enjoy art, music, museums, and traveling. I believe the VIH program will help me gain new perspectives and experiences I can utilize in both my career and life. 
International Experience Summary:

Bridgit Smith spent a little over a month this past summer virtually studying in Florence, Italy. She studied Italian culture and fashion at the Florence University of the Arts. During her time taking courses she was able to broaden her horizon on other cultures and traditions; as well as learn some new and useful Italian phrases. While taking courses she was able to genuinely connect with her professors and exchange different cultural practices and experiences that allowed for deeper conversation, as well as the ability to understand different perspectives.

Through her Italian Fashion course, Bridgit was able to discover a new passion within the expression of oneself through fashion in addition to having learned about the rich history of Italian fashion. She was able to take virtual tours, where she would view a variety of different shops and learn about their unique history. She was also given the opportunity to create her own tours of interest where she stayed and present them to her class. Through this experience, Bridgit was able to learn about Italy's rich history and culture in conjunction with strengthening her leadership skills and her skillset for working in an online setting. As Bridgit returns to her campus for her Senior year she is excited to apply what she learned “abroad” into her own practice and life.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: The Importance of Learning a Second Language 

My CEE, “Multilingualism in a Global World” wanted to bring attention to the importance of learning a second language in a world that is more globalized than ever before. Coming from a small campus in a rural area that only offers a limited number of language courses, we wanted to express how important not only offering but also encouraging students to take these courses are. Many students here are not exposed to other cultures or any diversity before coming to this campus and as the world continues to globalize it is so important to understand and appreciate other cultures and a fantastic way to do this is to learn languages. Our CEE not only expressed the advantages of learning another language offers but also highlighted the art and beauty of languages themselves. We had a guest speaker who briefly taught about Chinese calligraphy, and it was truly able to capture the essence of beauty that can be found in languages and other cultures. We also discussed our experiences with language through our programs and talked about the many ways there are to learn languages. By doing this we saw that everyone learns best in a unique way and explained the ways we learned best. I believe by doing this we were able to show the many ways students can learn languages. As previously mentioned, we come from a smaller satellite campus of Pitt Main, and we drew upon how many languages they had offered. To take the initiative we asked that our campus either have access to virtual options for Pitt Main language courses or we add more courses to our campus. We also discussed taking advantage of our few language courses and language/culture-based clubs and creating a language exchange club. In this club, students would be able to come out and be introduced to new languages and cultures, share languages with one another, and overall create a safe environment for everyone to share.