What does it mean to be a local? Basically, it is me trying to fit in to my new city. While I have been here, I have discovered certain things you can do to help fit the part of a local to Florence, Italy. You can dress the part, indulge in the food, try to learn the language and much more!
When it comes to dressing the part, I think of specific items of clothing. I think of a blazer, trouser pants, a good sneaker, a good pair of jeans with no rips, and long dresses. When wearing clothes that other Italians wear helps you stick out less and feel more comfortable in the new city. I also learn a lot about Italian style and the importance of appearance to them in my fashion courses I am taking.
As we all know food is a large part of Italian culture, and all cultures around the world in general. You may think of meatballs and chicken parmigiana, but that is not authentic Italian food. I have tried many amazing new foods while being here. Pastas of all kinds, veal, steak, risotto, seafood, cheesecake, gelato… the list goes on. Trying new food has to be my favorite part of my experience so far!
I am getting really good at ordering and understanding basic Italian phrases. Growing up my family spoke Portuguese, so knowing one European language helps me understand some Italian. I am able to notice some similarities in the two. When my friend Anika and I went out to eat the other night the waiter started to speak to us in all Italian. It did get to a point in the conversation where we had to say we spoke english, but he did say we looked local. Guess we are doing something right!
Lastly, a great way to understand the city around you is to learn about the history of the place you are staying. The University and the program I went through, API, both offer amazing tours to attend. You are able to see museums, churches, government buildings all with a tour guide to help you understand the significance of what you are seeing. I am here to learn, so I try and indulge in as many tours as my schedule can fit.
These are just some ways I have engaged in the culture. Always stay observing the culture around you, you can learn the most from seeing and experiencing. Never be afraid to try new things even when it feels a little scary. If I let fear hold me back, I would not be here in Florence right now.
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