I’m a languages student in my 3rd year of uni (on a four year course), which means that I’m currently on the dreaded Year Abroad. It has to be capitalised because, according to my uni department, it’s one of those very Important Life Experiences that you absolutely must make the most of. Not at all intimidating then.
Because the languages I study are Spanish and Italian, I’m starting off the Year Abroad with 8 months living in Milan, Italy. I arrived at the end of September, meaning I’m about halfway through. So, since I love a good list, I thought now might be a good time to share a few observations I’ve made since being here.
- Not all of Italy is the beautifully warm and sunny holiday destination we think it is. In fact, a lot of the weather in the north (where I am) is depressingly similar to the UK. Though happily without the rain.
- Yes, they really do eat that much pasta. Normally at least once a day.
- Same goes for pizza. Though perhaps not as often.
- As a general rule, Italians are terrifying drivers. From what I can tell, the rule of the road is that whoever is bravest (be they car, moped, bike, bus or pedestrian) gets to pass. So if you walk purposefully across a pedestrian crossing, you probably won’t die. But only probably.
- The further south you go, the more terrifying the driving is.
- Italians (or at least the Milanese) dress better than us. When I boarded the plane at Manchester Airport in my baggy grey hoodie I felt totally comfortable. As soon as I stepped off at Milan Bergamo, I felt completely out of place. And they will never, ever, leave the house in trackie bums.
- Italian kids are way more spoiled than British ones.
- Everyone thinks they should speak English and are always shocked when they find out I can speak Italian. I’ve had a pharmacist apologise to me for her lack of English – imagine that happening the other way round in the UK!
- It’s impossible to get a word in edgeways in any conversation, you just have to keep speaking over the other person until they stop.
- They all think Berlusconi’s insane too.