I have been in Italy for two months now and I find it almost impossible to explain what I have experienced here, because I have had such an incredible time.
I feel as though anything I write will be inferior to the journey I have been on. I think back on everything and I can't remember a bad day that I have had here.
Italy and the people that I have seen and met here have definitely confirmed the idea that Italy has got some of the best hospitality that I have ever come across. For me, coming from South Africa, it has been such a huge culture shock, but it has been beautiful to be able to experience life in a completely different home, with different people and their traditions. This is my first time in Europe (definitely not my last however) and I can truly say that the people here in Italy are so warm and open to new things. From the very first day, everyone has been so welcoming.
Italy and the people that I have seen and met here have definitely confirmed the idea that Italy has got some of the best hospitality that I have ever come across
There are so many differences between South Africa and Italy (my second home), however, it has been an exciting adventure to get used to them. For one, in Italy there is a lot more freedom for teenagers and young children. I find this very refreshing as it teaches people to grow up and be independent from a young age.
In South Africa, we don't have school on Saturdays. In the beginning it was difficult to get used to, but I enjoy seeing my friends and going to school here so it became easier.
Another thing which I have realized is that almost everything is late here! Even the bus! Most families here eat dinner at 8 or 9pm, while in South Africa, some families eat dinner as early as 6pm! There is almost no concept of time here. I love it, it feels as though the days are so much longer and every day will be a good one.
There is almost no concept of time here- I love it, it feels as though the days are so much longer and every day will be a good one!
Family meals here are also such an important tradition. This is very special to me because it allows you to stay close with your parents and siblings and you are assured quality time with your family, alone from your busy lives.
I have also found Italians to be very expressive. This may be a stereotype to some, but I have found that they love to use their hands when they are talking. They also raise their voice a lot when communicating to make sure that they are understood. This I love, because nobody is afraid to be themselves.
Marie in the land of the Sun
Italian is such a beautiful language, one which I am not very good at. I came to Italy with no experience or practice in the language whatsoever, but I'm so grateful because my family and friends here have been so patient with me. I can honestly say that there was no major problem with the language barrier while I was here. Sometimes it became frustrating to not understand when somebody spoke with me (Google Translate helped a bit with that) but everyone was very patient and we always ended up understanding one another. I wish for some day to be able to speak Italian fluently.
Sometimes it became frustrating to not understand when somebody spoke with me but everyone was very patient and we always ended up understanding one another
It is becoming harder and harder to come to the realization that I am leaving soon. Time has gone by so quickly, and it feels as though it was just the other day that I was saying goodbye to South Africa. It's going to be so difficult to return as Canicattini Bagni has become my home for these two months. I have made such special friendships and met such interesting people. I will never forget the time that I have had here. My experience that I have had, has been one that I would never trade for anything in the world, and it would not have been as special if it weren't for the people who shared it with me. My family and friends have taken me in as one of their own and I cannot express my gratitude enough. When I leave, I know a part of me will always remain here, like Italy will always remain in me.
When I leave, I know a part of me will always remain here, like Italy will always remain in me
It sounds like a short amount of time but it is impossible to understand how much has happened in these two months. Being an exchange student is an incredible thing. You make a whole new, real family thousands of kilometers from your other one, you visit places you've only seen in pictures and movies, you create memories with people who feel like people that you have known forever, you eat (A LOT), you breathe in a different air to the air that you are used to, you experience emotions you didn't even know that you had and most importantly, you begin to know yourself. You learn crazy amounts of different things about people, about tradition and about cultures. The world becomes so big.
Thank you for the memories, I will cherish them forever
I am so grateful to everyone who shared these two months with me. This isn't a goodbye, but rather "I'll see you soon" as this is definitely not the last time I'll be here. These two months have probably been the best two months that I have ever had. Thank you for the memories, I will cherish them forever.
"To get away from one's working environment is, in a sense, to get away from one's self; and this is often the chief advantage of travel and change." - Charles Horton Cooley.
From South Africa to Sicily, Italy for two months
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