Half the fun of studying abroad is uncovering the little facets of a population that help to define its culture. As days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months, I began to appreciate (and unappreciate!) some of these norms, and found myself molding around them into my own piece of Italy. Some still stick out to me, and probably will continue to do so for years to come.
The concepts of personal space and touching are not defined by the same parameters that we tend to construct in the United States. Touching friends, family, and even strangers in a public setting is a communicative norm.
Call me an American, but I initially expected elevators or escalators to be present when needing to go up and down many flights of stairs— Italy is certainly less accessible in this way, though not totally inaccessible. Perhaps this is also one of Italy’s responses to postmodernity…
3: Food shopping
Italian cuisine has become some of the most popular food around the globe, often explained by its simple, fresh, and tasty ingredients. I could not agree with this reasoning more, especially after food shopping alongside Italians. Gathering these ingredients today is a daily social activity, and the compact size of household refrigerators reinforces this.
American University of Rome