Appreciating the Culture
Bianca, Milan, Spring 2014
March 3, 2014

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I believe it is always life changing when placed in an environment very dissimilar to your own. The culture of Milan has changed me into the person I’ve become. The appreciation of time teaches me patience, the careless drivers teach me to care more when I drive and eating the Italian food helps me to be more courageous when trying new things (I tried rabbit for the first time, something I would never do back in the states).

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I love the people in Milan. They are very friendly towards me and they take the time to show their appreciation for whatever kind act I had done that day (I tend to smile a lot, it may make someone’s day better). Of course, there are those lingering rotten apples, but generally they mean well. Back at home, everyone is always in a rush and don’t make time to enjoy the space they live in. People can be rude and nonchalant about almost everything, but it’s different here.

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The most surprising thing that stands out to me here in Milan are the fashionable people. I knew it was a fashion capital prior to arriving but I was unaware of how grand everyone looked. I’ve seen women casually walking to the market wearing jeans, pumps, a fur coat and a designer bag. It’s natural for them and that’s what I love. No one is trying too hard to look the part; they just love to look good. Even the older women make sure they’re polished from head to toe as they’re on their way to the doctors’ office. I could really see myself staying here longer than planned, to be honest.

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Don’t get me wrong, everything is awesome but it gets very frustrating at times when communicating with the locals. In London, English is more prevalent and it’s easier to find your way around but in Milan most locals only speak Italian and if they do know English it’s very little. Thank goodness for beginners Italian because I would be SOL (so out of luck). I am appreciating the culture here and I am truly glad to be a part of this experience.

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Bianca is a student at Stephens College studying at Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti during the Spring 2014 term.

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SAI Programs is dedicated to providing academic and cultural learning experiences abroad that enhance global awareness, professional development and social responsibility. We concentrate our programs in Europe, with a focus on in-depth learning of individual European countries and their unique global role in the geopolitical economy, humanities, and in the arts.