What Italian Culture has Taught Me

Living in a foreign country always comes with its quirks. The extent of which, of course varies from person to person depending on individual experience. Coming from Italian descent, I’ve been exposed to the Italian culture before and it is naturally a big part of who I am. However, living in the country for an extended period of time, away from my lovely Italian family, you definitely notice the peculiarities a little more. Well, in my experience anyway.

Over the past couple of months I have been living and working in Northern Italia. In case you hadn’t already seen from my previous post YA Part Two: Living in Italy and my continuous spam on social media. Anyway, I was really grateful to have landed work experience in the North, since typically it is far more organised and less chaotic than the South. Being the avid planner that I am, this for me was crucial. Although, of course Italian organisation is very different to that of English or even German where I’ve spent a few months previously. So, here’s what it has taught me so far…


-Patience. You need a whole bundle of this if you’re going to get by. Everything is generally last minute and details are often not seen to be a necessary requirement… even in the context of work!


-How to cope in chaos. The lifestyle is chaotic, fact. There’s always a gentle hum of voices wherever you go and since everything is so last minute, things can go from 0 – 100 with little or no notice. This is just something I think you adapt to as it’s out of your control. All you can do is smile to yourself as an outsider knowing just how manic it all is. 

– There is no sense of urgency. Following on from the mayhem there is still little to no sense of urgency, whether it’s ensuring you hop on the train in time or if you’re heading back into work after lunch. Meandering and chit-chat are very common. 


-Tactility. This is something which I find I’m very British about. If I don’t know someone very well, I’d really rather they kept out of my personal space. Italians however are very tactile, even if you just met them a few minutes ago. You just have to try and embrace it.


-Take a compliment. Along with tactility, they love to dish out compliments which is so refreshing.

-Say ‘Ciao’. Most people greet one-another, even if they’re complete strangers. Along with this they often love a good natter, despite having not previously met you. This I find so lovely, but also a little tricky if I’m trying to stick to my recovery during a training session in the park!

KW

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