Last Updated on March 10, 2020 by AIFS Abroad
1. The Food
Italian food culture is something unique. How things are grown, farmed, processed, prepared, and eaten are taken seriously and executed meticulously. The buses may not run on time, but the mozarella will be fresh every day or it’s a scandal! As a college student, maybe you don’t always make the best food choices or have the resources to do so. But in Italy, eating well and often is for everyone. There’s the neighborhood trattoria, and the cafe with coffees, spremuta (yum!), and panini; not to mention the little shops that specialize in vegetables, fruit, bread, sweets, gelato and more. Get to know your neighborhood, and you will get to know Italy. Now that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a nostalgia trip to McDonalds every now and then (which also tastes better in Italy, because of course it does), but eating like that will be the exception to the rule. In Rome and Florence, we offer pizza making, pasta making, gelato tasting and more. So forget about the fettuccine alfredo (doesn’t exist in Italy) and say hello to amatriciana, carbonara and cacio e pepe.
2. The Travel
So you can travel all over Europe (and beyond) on the cheap thanks to the proximity of other countries and cheap flights on budget airlines. Of course you should check out Paris or Prague, but don’t miss out on all Italy has to offer. As someone who studied for a year in Italy and has been back several times, I can tell you I have not even seen the tip of the iceberg. There is your city- you can explore Florence or Rome for a semester and there are still a hundred places you won’t make it to, so stay and see as much as you can. With guidebooks, websites, blogs, and best of all, our amazing staff, you will discover the city that is beyond all the tourists. And then of course, there is the country. The Alps, the National Parks, the islands, the South, the North, the coast, the countryside, the cities- you can spend years traveling Italy. Play it by ear and get tips and ideas from our local staff, or do a lot of research and find out what interests you. But don”t miss out on traveling as much as you can throughout Italy; there are many different regions and discovering the differences and richness of each is something you should do.
3. Academics & Internships
Students often need to take specific courses for their major, which is important. But it’s also important to take advantage of the opportunity of being in Italy, and not just do the same things you would at home. Do you study business? Do an internship or take a course on the European Business Environment. Communications? Take History of Italian Cinema and Society. No matter your major, take an art history class that will put you on site once a week seeing the masterpieces of Italian art up close and personal. And our internship programs give you the best of both worlds: the study abroad experience, and real work experience you can put on your résumé.
4. The Fashion
Like the food, Italians tend to take fashion a bit more seriously. They are more formal (no sweatpants at the grocery store) and care more about quality over quantity. Now, that doesn’t mean everyone is walking around in Gucci. But they will invest in good shoes, good sunglasses, a nice coat, etc. and you will feel like you should do the same instead of buying 12 different things at Forever 21 (no judgment). It’s a good lesson though to take into adulthood: quality over quantity. The below photo was submitted by a student who studied with us in Florence:
“Roberto Ugolini (pictured with glasses) is the owner of the Roberto Ugolini Made to Measure Shoes Shop. In the photo, Ugolini shows his apprentice Patrizia the next step in creating the shoe. Ugolini has students and apprentices from all over the world who assist him in his business. I pass by the shop everyday on my way to class so one day decided to go in. I have been in Italy for over two months and since my first entrance in the shop, we have all become great friends.”
And if you want to study fashion, then you already know you need to go. You can intern and take courses at the same time!
5. The Culture
Italy has 49 places on the UNESCO World Heritage List, more than any other country. Last year was the 500th anniversary of the Sistine Chapel. And every year (see below) the Italians spectacularly celebrate Carnevale, with huge spectacles, humor and fun. What is Italian culture exactly? You’ll just have to go to find out.
What are you waiting for? Find out more about studying and interning in Italy on our website, or contact us today. Viva l’Italia!