I have only been in Italy for two months but I can already tell that I will forever be changed from my experience abroad. There are things in Italian culture that might not seem that different to American culture, but I can see a difference while living in it every day. While a lot of people have said to experience culture shock when living abroad, I did not experience that, it was just something I felt I had to get used to. For example, the lifestyle and style of living is very different here, and more relaxed. Something I have noticed while living here is how much more slow paced everything is. I will find myself wanting to walk faster behind people because most locals here walk very slowly, since their way of life is more relaxed. Most of my teachers take their time grading papers and tests because there is not much of a rush here in Italy. This part of the culture has taken a little bit of getting used to because at home, everything is very fast paced, deadlines are very strict, and it seems like everybody is in a competition to be done with their work the fastest and best. In Italy, people finish their work in a timely manner but without stressing themselves out or changing their routine in their day. Another part of an everyday Italian is the clothing that Italians wear. There is almost no such thing as loungewear in Florence. Everybody, every single day, even to the airport or on lazy mornings will dress in nicer clothing. I have not seen a single person wear a sweatshirt walking on the street, and simply only nicer more formal clothes. This has been a change for my friends and I because we can never roll out of bed and go to class, we have to pick out a nice outfit every morning. I actually love this part of the culture because I love picking out clothes and it gives me more excuses to shop! Trying to live like an Italian rather than just visiting for a couple days or a week is very different. Emerging yourself into the culture is an important part of the abroad process, and I hope to have a nice balance of American culture along with Italian culture when I go back home.
Maddie R is studying Psychology and Music, and studying abroad with API through Lorenzo de Medici.