Today I am leaving for Rome, Italy. I will arrive there tomorrow evening and stay there for the next month. I’m very excited, but I’m also very apprehensive. I’ve been to Italy before, but it was with my family, a group, and a tour guide, so getting around was very easy and all planned out for me. This time I am going alone and I will be having to figure out things myself. I’m excited about this part, but also very nervous because I’ve never done this before. Also, last time I was in Italy (the only time I’ve ever been there) I didn’t visit Rome and I was only in the country for about 3 days. That’s not enough time to learn much about Italian culture, so I know very little about what my host culture will be like. I assume things based on stereotypes I heard and seen in movies. My perception at this point is this Italians will be very friendly and welcoming in general…and that at some point I may be greeted with big hugs and kisses on the cheeks.I expect Italian people to be true connoisseurs of food and wine (but perhaps that’s just because I know the food and wine there is supposed to be excellent). I also assume that Italians in general will be very verbal and loud. In movies, Italian people are always very talkative and loud. They like to celebrate and are happy and use lots of hand gestures while talking. This is, perhaps naively, the picture of Italians that I have in my head.
I think my host culture will almost certainly take some getting used to. If my perception is true, then I expect I may be a little uncomfortable with the greetings and possible intrusion into my personal space (my personal “bubble”), but I think it would also make me feel very welcomed and appreciated, so I think I would also like it. I, myself, am fairly loud and talkative and kind of dramatic, so I think I will fit in fine in that sense, as soon as I get to know people a little better. But in all, I’m not quite sure how I am going to fit in to this culture. I guess I will just have to wait and see!