One month in Arezzo! It’s crazy how in some ways Arezzo already feels like home even though there’s parts of America that I miss. Coming back to Arezzo after a weekend is the best feeling and makes me appreciate the city so much more. I started my internship at SUGAR two weeks ago and I’m so glad I get the opportunity to work with an Italian company.
I’ve definitely started to notice the different stages of cultural adjustment during my time here. The honeymoon phase is exactly how I imagined my study abroad experience with the excitement and awe towards everything. Now that I’ve been here for several weeks I would say I’m a mix of all four stages.
- This isn’t as strong for me as it was when I first got here, however I still find myself in disbelief that I get to live here.
- Cultural Shock
- The small things that were unique and funny at first are now sometimes frustrating.
- I still can’t figure out when restaurants are open. Sometimes they’ll open at 11am and the next day they’re closed until 12:30.
- Italians continue to be incredibly nice and patient (especially in Arezzo) which helps when my favorite sandwich place is closed even though google maps says it’s open (:
- I don’t find myself missing Colorado any more than if I was in Norman. I think being an out of state student has helped because I only get to go home once a semester.
- I do miss America sometimes but mostly because I don’t know a lot of Italian and wish I could communicate better.
- Gradual Adjustment
- This is where I mostly am right now! Most days I think it’s funny when I go to a store and it’s randomly closed or when I miss a train because I read the sign wrong.
- I try to go with the flow and enjoy the mistakes because there’s no point in getting upset about them. I think this is the most important part of study abroad–things will go wrong and that’s part of it (:
- Feeling at Home:
- I’ve only had glimpses of this phase and its mostly when I’m away from Arezzo for a day or two. I love the size of Arezzo and how the locals embrace “Oklahoma.”
Idioms and Gestures
The only idiom I’ve noticed is that they touch metal for good luck instead of knocking on wood. I have noticed a lot of gestures though and personally love them because they are easy to understand. Even though I don’t speak Italian I can still have a conversation or ask questions using my limited vocabulary and gestures. I love that gestures are practically universal even if there are slight differences.
At my internship with SUGAR our Supervisor Tommaso speaks pretty good English but he uses gestures to make up for words he doesn’t know. There’s also a lady named Silvia who takes us upstairs to the hotel. She doesn’t speak much English so the elevator ride is kind of awkward because she talks to us in Italian and we just nod because we don’t understand. SUGAR has been really cool and I’m excited to see if they like any of our ideas and add them to the rooms.