Being an international student can get very tough. From exposing yourself to a culture different from yours to getting lost in your destination country, studying abroad presents a lot of growth and change to a student. UCSC exchange student Dominique Crespo Mijares shares her dolce vita experience in Milan!
Being a “newcomer” in Italy may end when you go out on the streets, you know exactly where you are, and you are even able to help with directions in Italian.
In my case, I don’t believe that during my stay here in Milano I want to cease being an International student or “an outsider”. The uniqueness of having a different cultural background is that you can observe behavior, words or deeds with a different perspective.
Get lost as many times as it takes to find new destinations. Milan, It’s a new place where I am living temporarily since three months ago. I am in a physical environment for a semester, however, the experiences and life lessons learned will be permanent.
I’m still adjusting to the Italian Dolce Vita. I am afraid I may never really be part of it though. Getting used to will increasingly neglect the spontaneous transitions obtained on a daily leisure. To have long walks across the city, conversations with the Nonnas at bus stops, tasting new gelato flavors, observing social behavior of the Milanese and let them observe mine.
I want to impart my culture and my roots to the Italian world, leave this place leaving my influence by allowing myself to get influenced. I would like to permanently capture fascination with my surroundings.
It is true that cultural studies scholars have developed a theory that represents a fairly predictable cultural adaptation. It is called the U-curve theory. This natural process is almost unavoidable – there is a happy ending, everything will be a-okay.
In case adaptation is taking longer than expected, I would suggest dedicating time to individuality, find the inner solution that can only be provided in yourself. Have a little shrine for yourself in a non-physical space. After your success, be aware of the external world and communicate, write, share your happiness with them.
Happiness is only real when shared. Dance, eat, exercise, travel, paint, photograph, do whatever it takes for you to realize you are in the mother country that expanded art and culture to the world: La Bella Italia!