29 Things You’ll Understand If You’ve Studied Abroad In Italy
From the coliseum to the world’s finest pizza and coffee, Italy’s an enviable Erasmus location. We leave for our study abroad placements with dreams of taking a ride on an Italian’s Vespa and reaching near-native fluency. These things may not happen, but there’s a whole host of unexpected things that do happen when you pack your bags and head off to the old boot.
1. At first, adapting to the extremely chilled out Italian lifestyle feels really bizarre.
2. But once you’ve embraced it, you can’t remember how you ever lived any other way.
3. You happily begin to live off a highly nutritious diet based on various forms of Italian breads, pasta, prosciutto and cheese.
4. And let’s not forget the gelato, of course.
Meeting for coffee slowly morphs into going to one of the many, many gelaterias instead. La dolce vita. 👌
5. Facing judging glances for not using a plastic glove when picking out your vegetables at Meta.
When in doubt, just copy everyone else.
6. And somehow managing to get by with the language, despite not really understanding how to use the formal Lei.
7. You never knew it was possible to talk about food in such minute detail until you discussed it with an Italian.
8. Although you just can’t believe how they seem to have dismissed the concept of breakfast entirely.
A coffee and a biscuit? Really?
9. You develop very clear criteria for what makes a good tiramisù.
Waitrose essentials tiramisu no longer appeals.
10. And stop pre-drinking entirely because there’s absolutely no need with the casual seratas out and cheap, local wine.
11. Absolutely loving how affordable everything is in general.
Whether it’s your rent, train tickets to a neighbouring city or an Aperol spritz, it’s all within your budget.
12. And seeing nothing wrong with having pizza every few days*
*all the time.
13. You quickly learn to distinguish between normal time and Italian time.
‘Un’oretta’ = the whole afternoon, and if someone says they’re going to be “a bit late” you can expect to be waiting at least half an hour.
14. And you realise that rushing is not a thing in Italy. At all.
15. The frustration of dealing with Italian phone companies.
16. Or Trenitalia’s somewhat sporadic service.
17. You’ll probably have some public toilet experiences you’d rather forget.
18. But it’s fine, because you’ll never want to forget the majority of the other experiences you have there.
Frescos on the ceiling of the library, old paintings and statues in the street that’d probably be enshrined in glass cases anywhere else, and living on streets that look just like a film set.
19. Becoming accustomed to warm evenings and never questioning if it’s too cold to wear shorts.
Which makes returning to a British summer all the worse. Drizzly weather in July, is this some cruel joke?
20. While also realising you’ve turned into a total coffee snob.
Coffee chains just don’t cut it 👎
21. Feeling smug about all of your family and friends suddenly wanting to come and visit you.
22. And you know your Instagram game has never been stronger.
23. Although you can’t get enough of the warmth and openness of Italian people, you do also miss British politeness.
24. You try to bring as much Italian food home with you as possible because you know it’s never going to be the same in the UK.
25. And despite the pangs for cheddar cheese, ‘Pointless’ and that sense of belonging you get when you’re home, you find it hard to say ciao to Italy.
26. Which is why when you’re home, you find yourself gravitating towards Italians wherever you go.
27. And welcoming any opportunity to practise speaking now you can roll your r’s like a real Italian.
After speaking it every day and completing multiple Italian oral exams on subjects you essentially know nothing about, it’s no big deal any more.
28. Although your year abroad in Italy might not always have been everything you expected it to be…
Probably because of the Lizzie Maguire movie, let’s be honest.
29. You return an olive oil enthusiast, talking about your time away to anyone who’ll listen and thinking back to those care-free days of focaccia and aperitivi.
Italia ❤️ 🇮🇹