Having spent over three weeks in Italy, I have witnessed a great deal of differences in this country, but nothing close at all to getting culture shock. Anybody can tell the huge differences of culture between the United States and Italy within the first day of a visit to this country. Throughout my travels of life I have learned that visiting other countries is not just a way to see new things and people, but it is an opportunity to grown in appreciation of your homeland. We are definitely spoiled to a degree living in the United States. Some major differences of where I come from and the city of Florence, is the huge amount of population and traffic of constant cars and mopeds driving through the streets. Coming from a small town in North Carolina, we having nothing close to these hundreds of small narrow streets. Some small difference of way in life here in Italy includes; the lack of air conditioning, room temperature water, splitting checks at restaurants, and not wearing shorts in public when going out into town (the Italians usually are wearing pants no matter how hot it is)! I have overall enjoyed the new culture here, it is very different from home, but not drastically where you feel like an outcast. I do enjoy the lack of a lot of electronic technology here in Italy, compared to the United States. There is plenty of technology here but I feel like it’s not as emphasized here as much as the United States.
With my few weeks here in Florence, I have already developed my favorite places to visit. For dining my favorite spot is my host family’s kitchen. Every weekday I eat dinner at my household and my host-mother Maria is a wonderful cook where I get to eat what a typical Italian meal consists of. When I go out to grab lunch I got to a local bar, where I have become friends with the bartender, Roberto. My favorite parks to go to is Lo Parco Di Stadio which is near where I live and next to the soccer stadium for Fiorentina. Here I do my daily fitness in the morning. A wonderful place to go visit is Piazza San Michelangelo where one can get a whole skyline view of Florence, especially lit up at night. For my free time, I love going to a quant local bar near the Duomo for an aperitivo with friends from class.
Alston is a student at Virginia Tech studying at Florence University of the Arts in Italy during the Summer 2014 term.