Ah Italy, the land of pasta, coffee, and where Lizzie McGuire became an international pop sensation. Where do I even begin? From the flight over the Italian Alps until the moment I arrived and had my first espresso, I can truly say that Italy has stolen my heart. For those of you who don’t know me or haven't heard me obnoxiously complain about the pizza in Hawaii, I’m actually 100% ethnically Italian! It’s been a surreal experience getting to explore the land of my heritage for the first time and learn about its history, culture, language and of course, the incredible food.
|if you could have only seen my face when I woke up on the plane and saw this view|
About one month ago today, my dad and I flew from New Jersey to Milan. I was so grateful to have my father bring me to Italy; he was born in a small town in the south and moved to the United States when he was young, but still grew up speaking Italian and carrying on family traditions, which has made my transition a heck of a lot easier. (You can imagine how excited my family was when I told them I was coming here for five months.)
Although I didn’t really grow up speaking Italian, I started learning on my own through the app Duolingo about a year ago when one of the awesome study abroad advisors, Kri, told me about it. Thanks to practicing some Italian with my Nonna (which means grandma in Italian), my father, and Duolingo (this is not an ad for them by the way although any payment for this endorsement would be greatly appreciated) I was placed into a second level pre-intermediate language course for my two week language intensive. I couldn’t believe how much Italian I learned over the course of two weeks; I can now hold a conversation in Italian- as long as nobody gets too fancy with their vocabulary.
After my dad left to go back to New Jersey, I did struggle somewhat with the language barrier, but I’ve discovered that as long as you try to speak in Italian, the locals really appreciate it. I’ve also found that the phrase “Non parlo Italiano molto bene/I don’t speak Italian very well” which sounds kind of ironic, has also come in handy on numerous occasions. I didn’t want to fit the stereotype of being an American who only speaks English wherever she goes, so I have really being trying to immerse myself in the Italian culture as much as possible. That’s why I’m taking a semester long language course/cooking class! (Yes, there will be pictures of the food I make)
Since arriving, I’ve met international students from all over the world! In my language class alone I met students from France, The Netherlands, England, Finland, Chile, and Belgium. We spent a lot of time talking about the similarities and differences between our countries and joked around about the stereotypes we had of each other’s cultures. Turns out not everyone in France eats snails, who knew? (Hopefully you will all learn to deal with my stupid jokes, as I will be making a lot of them in my blog posts). I've also gotten to catch up with Hunter, another HPU student here at Universita Cattolica in Milan!
|Iris from The Netherlands and Leonie from Germany|
Through the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) at my school, I’ve also gotten the chance to meet many Italian students through the activities and events they organize. I really enjoy practicing my Italian with them and seeing their reactions when I tell them I’m Italian-American; it's usually a combination of excitement but also confusion as to why I'm not fluent, which I'm still yelling at my dad about. I almost forgot to mention that my roommate is an Italian student from my dad’s hometown! She speaks some English and I speak some Italian so we’ve been trying to speak in each other’s languages to practice them. I usually just end up combining the two which has led to Italianglish, if thats even a thing.
Okay so before I ramble on any more in this post I'm going to end it here but don't worry, there will be more to follow including many pictures of pasta, pizza, gelato, etc. Arrivederci and stay tuned!