An International Everywhere

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Astha Dave
June 15, 2024

“Where are you from?”

Squinting eyes, head tilted, and an attempt to sound curious. This is the first question I get asked, whether I go to a store, or bar, or meet another student for the first time. This isn’t limited to studying abroad because I study in the United States as an international student. 


After years of understanding and accumulating new habits and culture, I was confident in my ability to be in Italy. A little happier than the rest of the crowd when we first arrived. This four month span seemed way shorter to me than four years of studying in a different country and there are so many similarities between India and Italy. The way people behave in both countries has much more in common with the U.S. It was easier for me to navigate everything than I had to in a small town in Ohio. I strive in a big city environment, where there is public transport, global food options, and people everywhere! 


It is an interesting transition for international students because there is a subconscious brain worrying about so many different aspects of life. I remember when I first got to Ohio, I had a sudden realization of how people treated me differently because of my skin color and accent. I brought that concern with me to Milan. I was happy to find out that none of them became as big of a deal. They’d definitely point out my accent and figure out my home country but it didn’t put an end to a new blooming relationship for the most part. 


One big advantage you will probably have is that you won’t go through the same emotional journey or thought process as others. I have been living independently and managing my finances for quite a while, and figuring out a new culture and how different system works. With that being said, I also had more patience to listen to my friends who felt homesick and be there for them. 


Italy is closer to India than the U.S. so I would feel close to home being abroad which was a pretty nice feeling to have. Apart from occasional stares, and curious questions, I’m glad it worked out. 

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Astha Dave

Hi there! I'm Astha Dave, from Denison University majoring in Psychology and Journalism. If you ever need a dance partner, don't hesitate to reach out to me, I love hip-hop, salsa, and bollywood dance :)

2024 Spring
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