Studying abroad means that someone has the wonderful experience of studying in another country outside of the U.S. for a month, a semester, or even a year. This opportunity to study in another country allows the student to fully experience the culture of that country.
My college offers a study abroad program in a small town in the southern part of Italy called Sorrento. Things in other countries are not the same as back home! Today, I will be telling you about some of the differences that I have found between Italy and the U.S. during my first week here.
First, I found that the food, such as vegetables, fruits, and other things, are always fresh in Italy. This is because all the local markets get their products from nearby. In the U.S., supermarkets from New York might get apples from California or even Chile. Usually, Italian farms are not that far away from the cities. People here are always eating natural and healthy food.
Second, the people here in Italy are always friendly. They seem to be willing to help anybody who needs help. As well, they are willing to speak Italian with anybody who is learning the language. This helps me to practice Italian. I appreciate it so much!
In this part of the country, they have “siesta time”. If you don’t know what siesta means, let me explain what it means, and how it works here in Italy. Siesta in Spanish means “nap”. From 12:00 pm to 4:00pm, most of the local community closes its doors to take a break. How amazing is that? Italian people from this part of the country still work their daily eight hours, but they get to have a break of four hours in the middle of their eight-hour shift. I feel that maybe Italians might have more fun when it comes to work.
On the other hand, I also experienced a little bit of a negative culture shock for several reasons. For example, there is not always constant hot water, as I used to have in New York. Every time I take a shower, it has to be a really quick one. The Internet is hard to get. When I do get it, usually it’s slow. Since I don’t have the best Internet connection, it’s hard to keep in touch with my family and friends. Also, the electricity here in Italy, as well the rest of Europe, is really expensive. This might help explain why you might see people hanging up their clothes outside on their balconies so the clothes can dry. Every time I do laundry, I have to hang my clothes in the open air for one entire day, so they will be dry by the end of the day.
My first week here in Sorrento has been a really good experience! There have been many different reasons for culture shock. This is part of the experience of studying abroad. This is just the first week of my journey, and I wonder what is going to happen next week!