Arriving in Milan on a cloudy day in January, I had many expectations. While taking a taxi from the airport to my new apartment, I looked out and saw grey stone buildings, sprayed with un-artistic graffiti. This was not the Italy I had been expecting— the one that was on magazine covers and in the movies.
Culture shock was very real. Soon after realizing Milan was not a touristy city at all, I began to see how much I could learn from the experience. Fewer people speak English than I imagined. I quickly began to learn small phrases to order dinner in a restaurant or even get a haircut. Italian traditions and customs are certainly unique as well. Breakfast is a coffee and a pastry, not a fancy omelet with home fries and toast. And being “on time” simply does not exist.
The more I explored and learned about the place I was living, the more I began to enjoy it.
Not only have the sights been great, the food has, too. Eating at top-rated restaurants and family trattorias alike means tasting unique twists on different Italian foods.
Whether it is a classic pizza and pasta, or a unique veal dish, the standards of Italian food are so high that you’re sure to enjoy it wherever you go.
Besides wandering Milan, I have also been able to travel to many cities across Europe.
The ease of getting from country to country via air or train in a cheap and reliable manner leaves no place off the table.
Thus far, I’ve visited Brussels, Prague, Turin, Barcelona, Spain, Amsterdam, Florence, and Venice, with many more to come in the remaining weeks.
The ability to sample these cultures for a few days is always an exciting experience, but it’s equally as great returning to Milan and enjoying the time in a city I can now call home.
Guest Blogger: Ross Fine is an Olin junior studying abroad in Milan, Italy. He is studying Accounting and Finance.