My arrival and first days in Florence were very eventful and I learned much about Italian culture within those days. When I first arrived in Florence, I was in disbelief due to how I was planning for this trip for months and had so much anxiety and excitement towards the trip that when I arrived I could not believe that I was actually in Florence.
The following day was orientation where I learned about the program and cultural norms in Italy. The orientation leaders spoke about some societal cultural practices in regards to how alcohol is handled in order for us to not put ourselves in bad situations. When doing the walking tours to show us where the school facilities are, I was able to experience the charming, old buildings of the city along with how a normal day in Italy proceeds. The Italian night life is also different than American night life in how restaurants are open later and in how Italians spend more time enjoying their meals at restaurants than Americans do.
From the few days after my arrival, I’ve already learned that Italians are way more conservative of their energy use and other necessities than Americans are. Energy costs for Italians are high. One of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is affordable and clean energy. Italians limit their electrical usage by opening windows at night to take advantage of the cool night air instead of using the air conditioner, then they close the windows and turn the air conditioners on during the day. This is what we all should do, but most of us do not. Instead, we just set the temperature to 73 degrees on our thermostats and forget about it. If the air conditioner in my apartment is representative of what Italians have, their air conditioners are not the powerful pieces of equipment that we enjoy in Florida. At first I dreaded the extra warmth of my apartment during the day but I am getting used to it.
From my first few days in Italy, I have learned about how cultural practices of everyday life are different from ours in America, and I appreciate the differences.