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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

The Wandering Gator: 10 simple things I learned from studying abroad in Italy

Gelato is a prime substitute for any meal.

When in Italy, right? I took it upon myself to eat as much gelato as I could possibly fit in my stomach and then some! I wanted to try every color, flavor, combination, size–want to know the best part? I did not regret one bit of it. 

English is spoken by just about everyone

It isn’t the known as the universal language for nothing. Just remember to put forth a friendly effort to communicate with them without simply assuming that they speak English, and the Italians will be very accommodating. They are always ready to point you in the right direction, or, especially for the elders, give you wise proverbs on how to live your life.

Large tour groups are your worst nightmare.

Literally. I had a nightmare about being trapped in a narrow alleyway by tourists while they proceeded to trample over me like the bulls of Pamplona. Do yourself a favor and stay away from the main attractions of the city. Which leads me to…

Getting lost is an amazing feeling!

Be spontaneous! My most memorable experiences were from simply wandering. I stumbled on everything from a secluded gothic church to a Kosher Mediterranean restaurant (Ah-mazing falafel), to a National Park in the mountains! On a side note, I also found the best gelato this way.

Ryan-Air is a cultural experience.

The seats may not recline but their prices are unbeatable. Just be sure to bring your own water with you!

Air-Conditioning is not a thing.

Neither are dryers! And you know what? It is fantastic! This makes you want to get outside and do something. As for the dryers, there is no danger of shrinking any clothing! And hanging clothes on a clothesline makes you feel Italian, which is pretty awesome.

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The Italian language is beautiful.

It is music to your ears. Their language makes you want to learn to speak it just so you can sound beautiful and, frankly, irresistible too. 

It was better for my well-being if I just pretended Euros were Dollars.

Exchange rate? What exchange rate?

The definition of aperitivo.

It is socially acceptable to eat dinner at nine o’ clock at night- in fact, it is the norm! Aperitivo is served from around 3pm to 8pm in some restaurants. Think of it as a pre-dinner snack, or even just a cheaper way of getting dinner (because at some point, you can’t keep tricking yourself that dollars and euros are the same thing). So much for eating dinner a 5 o’ clock on the dot in my house growing up….

I missed studying abroad even before it ended. 

There is no other experience in one’s life that can match it! For weeks you are able to live a carefree life (with just about 4 minutes of studying daily) exploring the world. I doubt there will be another time in my life where I have such an opportunity basically handed to me on a silver platter. Make it happen for yourself, it is worth your while.

TWG: Italy
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