I’ve been in Milano for almost 3 weeks now, and I am already dreading going back to the States. I don’t know what this “homesickness” is that everyone warned me about, but I haven’t experienced that at all… and I don’t think I will. Don’t get me wrong - I miss my family and friends back home, but the relaxed lifestyle of the Milanese fits me to a T. Italians take their time for many things. Even when you’re on your way to work or class, no one’s rushing to get to their destination. They also value social interactions. I’ve had dinners that have lasted as long as 3 hours after we’ve finished eating. Even at restaurants, my friends and I have stayed hours after we’re finished just having a good conversation. There’s no pressure from waiters/waitresses to leave, and at most places, they don’t even bring you your check until you ask for it. Also, for the most part, if you’re a little late to something, people understand.
The culture shock hasn’t hit me hard either, although there are definitely differences from America. In my first post, I talked about bringing a recipe from home to combat homesickness. Still, it’s been challenging to find ingredients for the recipes! Grocery labels are in Italian, of course, but fortunately, food is much fresher and a little cheaper.
Back home, whenever I needed to go somewhere, I either had a ride or could quickly call an Uber or Lyft. In Milano, everyone walks or takes some form of public transportation. To class, to work - basically anywhere you plan to go.
One of the things I find most interesting about this country is that about 85% of the people I’ve encountered actually speak English. It made me think about how much more difficult my experience here would be if they didn’t. It also made me think about when foreigners go to America, they’re expected to know English, or they’re out of luck. I even feel bad asking Italians if they speak English sometimes because I feel like I’m the one who should be making an effort to speak Italian. I’ve been trying, but these realizations have made me want to put in even more energy to learn the beautiful language.
I don’t know if I’m going through an extra-long honeymoon phase, but I’m adjusting really well to Italian culture, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of this semester has to offer!
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<p>Hi! My name's Atiya, and I am a junior Economics major, Creative Writing minor at Spelman College! I enjoy traveling, meeting new people, eating delicious food, and just making amazing memories with great people. I'm into all things creative from writing screenplays to taking the perfect photograph. I'm super excited to be in Milan and to take y'all on this journey with me!</p>