By: Annika Gunderson, Foster Undergraduate
Arriving in Italy, I didn’t go directly to Milan. My entire family came to do an extended vacation in Rome, Florence, Venice, ending with moving me into my Milan apartment. Dragging my 2 suitcases, carry-on, and backpack through 4 cities definitely made me stand out as a stereotypical American. Italians would jokingly ask “Are you moving here or something??” as I walked past with my suitcase’s wheels rattling obnoxiously on the cobblestone. I always stopped and said “Yes! I’m moving to Milan!” Every time I thought they would tell me how
beautiful Milan is, how excited I should be to live there, how amazing it would be….but instead I got “Why? It’s ugly and industrial. I would never want to live there.” Needless to say, I was very scared when I got on my final train from Venice to Milan. I kept on thinking “What did I get myself into??”
Everyone I talked to about Milan was wrong. The city is energetic, fashionable, and gorgeous. Milan never sleeps, there’s always a fashion or design week during the day, aperitivo in the evening, and clubbing at night. Italians are night owls, when I go out I’ll eat dinner with friends at 11, hit the clubs at 12, and sometimes stay until closing at 6! Good thing Italian espresso is strong!I couldn’t wait for class to start so I could start meeting new people. I was so surprised when everyone came to class in groups and all sat together! I realized that I was one of very few exchange students who came alone. Everyone else came with groups from their university and were already friends! Being alone made meeting people a lot more difficult, but a lot more rewarding. I didn’t come to Italy to hang out with Americans! I now have friends from Israel, Italy, Hungary, Serbia, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, France, and the list goes on! Some days I really wish I had searched out other Americans here so I could have a little feeling of home, but I know I have the rest of my life for burgers and beer and I should enjoy my wine and pasta while I can!
I somehow ended up becoming closest with a group of models. I did come to Milan for the fashion, and now I’m in the middle of it! I love them, but sometimes it’s very intimidating to hear them talking about going to a Versace casting the next day, or online shopping and seeing them all over the website! I always look forward to seeing what they’re wearing because I know they see all the trends before the public does. Unfortunately, I’m always in something colorful while they’re always in black! I definitely stick out from Europeans- can you guess which one is me in the photo??
That’s all for now, I only have 2 months left in Italy and I want to go out and enjoy them!
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