Surviving Your First Week in Italy

  “I wouldn’t say I survived, I would say I thrived!” –Megan in Bridesmaids

Travelling to a foreign country can be quite an adventure and a challenging undertaking. For students studying abroad, this adventure can, be very exciting yet intimidating. So many questions arise like where do I eat, where do I go, how do I speak the language, etc. However to the benefit of the new travelers about to embark on their journey, the people who have done it all before can show them the ropes of how to survive the first week in Italy in 5 easy steps.

1. Be Economical: The biggest difficulty most students will face is conserving money while abroad. Money can easily be saved by not eating out for every meal, which can be very expensive, and shopping at the open-air markets scattered around the city. These markets have extremely inexpensive and fresh produce as well as dairy, meats, and ready to cook pasta (all handmade and prepared daily).

2. Learn Simple Italian: Common phrases such as “Where is,” “What is,” and “How much,” will save you time and energy when communicating with Italians. Making yourself learn these phrases and speak the language early will help you in the long run as well as help integrate you into the culture. Numbers, food, and greetings will also aid you in daily life abroad.

3. Get Lost on Purpose: The worst feeling for a student living abroad is being lost at inopportune times. Therefore, get lost on your own or with a friend before that happens so you can get acclimated to your surroundings. Walking around the city or even going to different and fun sightseeing locations during the daylight hours will help you get acquainted with your new home.

4. Get an Italian Phone: An Italian phone is the best way to get in touch with your friends while studying abroad. For only 30 Euro you can get a phone with a pay-as-you-go plan that will allow you to text and call anyone in Italy for a minimal cost. Plus incoming calls are free, from Italy or abroad.

5. Talk to the Locals: This is extremely important. Not only will talking to locals help you understand more about where you are living, but it will help you to find out about where you need to go for the daily necessities such as food, toiletries, things for the house, etc. Many locals do speak English, and even professors or university staff would be more than willing to help you become more acquainted with the city you are living in.

Take advantage of the opportunity you have been given and never second-guess your decisions. Going abroad is an amazing journey and, by following these easy recommendations, you too can thrive in the rich and inviting Italian culture.

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