Ciao! I will now be going into my third month of being in Florence, Italy and I can honestly say that “La Vita Italiana” is the way to go.
Many students come abroad and are unsure of how to adapt and embrace this lifestyle, so I have come up with a few tips on how to ensure a marvelous time.
Take Your Time
One of the biggest cultural differences between Italy and the United States is how we go about our day. Italians are in no rush, whereas we are constantly rushing in the States. Their walks are leisurely and meals are genuinely enjoyed. While eating, engage in a conversation, soak up the scenery – you’re in Italy! Of course, punctuality is always crucial wherever you are, but give yourself time to learn and adapt to this way of living. We are used to everything moving at hyper-speed and are always on the go. Our coffee is fast, our schedules are overbooked and mindset is to finish everything immediately. Live in the moment and absorb all that this beautiful country has to offer.
Try New Things
I do not just mean food! Try different activities like the soccer team at school, or sign up for cooking classes. There are so many new and different things that you can do in Italy that you cannot do in the States. My favorite thing that I have done was a Vespa tour and wine tasting. There are many companies in Florence that offer this wonderful experience. I drove through Tuscany and then tasted wines at a castle.
Practice Speaking Italian
Many students that study in Italy have never spoken a lick of Italian a day in their life and are required to take it at their university. Learning some simple, everyday phrases will definitely make things easier and more fun because you are able to communicate with the locals. Italians will appreciate your effort and will be very sweet when they hear you speaking. I speak Italian pretty well and on numerous occasions I have been given free things or discounts because I was able to hold a conversation with people. I am not saying that this is guaranteed, but it is definitely worth a shot.
Travel To Different Parts of Italy
Traveling in Europe is way cheaper than traveling in the United States. In Italy, there is a train company called Frecciarossa. The trains go all over the country so it is not difficult or too expensive to go visit other Italian cities. Also, most of the universities in Italy plan some weekend and day trips for its students. It is so crazy to see how each city is different from the next. It makes each visit unique and memorable.
These are not all of my secrets on how to embrace “La Vita Italiana” but some of the most important. The rest will be discovered while you are here for yourself.
This post was contributed by Brianna Sitkowski, who is studying abroad with AIFS in Florence, Italy.