The GoGlobal Blog

Culture Shock is Real

Culture Shock is Real

When I first heard about “culture shock”, I truly believed it wouldn’t happen to me. I was extremely excited to leave the U.S. and immerse myself into a new country and culture. Today is my 12th day in Rome, and I have been proven wrong. Here is a list of 5 things I am struggling to adjust to the most:

Italians are never concerned about time. There is no such thing as a bus ETA. The buses are never on time and you could wait as much as 45 min at a bus stop. Coming from Chicago, where I have lived my entire life and where buses/trains are always on time, this was difficult to adjust to. However, this experience will encourage my type A personality to learn how to “go with the flow.”

Coffee culture is drastically different. I love my Starbucks just as much as the next person, but I also love my daily normal brewed black coffee. Italians call that an “Americano.” In Italy, they really only have 3 major coffee drinks: a cappuccino, an espresso, and a macchiato (and no not the caramel sugary thing from Starbucks). Coffee is also never taken “to go.” Setting aside the time to sit and have my morning coffee is so different from my normal routine and may encourage me to enjoy the little things more!

Carbs, Carne, and Cornettos. Don’t get me wrong, Italians are serious about their food and it’s delicious. I truly believed I could never tire of pasta and that I would be stoked to eat it for the next 4 months. However, I have tired of pasta. During a meal, the first dish is always pasta, second is meat (usually pork), and last is dolce (dessert). Italians also don’t eat a full breakfast like Americans. Breakfast is usually some sort of filled cornetto (croissant) and cappuccino (my favorite part of the day). Let’s not forget delicious bread is served at every meal. Better hit the gym, am I right?

The language. This is my first time being in another country that is not Mexico or the U.S. I am Latina, and I am a fluent Spanish speaker. I have never been in a situation where I didn’t know how to communicate with others, how to read a menu, or understand what others are saying. This has truly been eye-opening for me and is pushing me to learn Italian and use it as much as possible throughout my time here.

The time difference. Rome is 7 hours ahead of Chicago time. Although this isn’t really culture related, the time difference has been something I have found difficult to adjust to. Trying to communicate with friends and family back home is difficult because they’re just getting out of class/work by the time it’s 11pm in Rome. Also, when I’m waking up around 8am it’s only 1am in Chicago and everyone is (typically) asleep. However, my friends and family have made a serious effort to plan phone calls/face times/texts to keep in touch, and I am so blessed to have these amazing people in my life.

The transition from living in Chicago my entire life to living in Italy was not initially easy for me and has definitely taken me out of my comfort zone. However, this experience has already changed me for the better and I am excited to see where these next 4 months will take me. Until next time, ciao!


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