8 Ways Studying Abroad in Italy Will Change You Forever


1. You will miss the art of morning coffee. Waiting in a long line for your rushed, Americanized Starbucks cappuccino in a paper cup will never compare to standing at a bar in Italy and enjoying your perfectly crafted cappuccino with the locals.

2. You will become appalled by the way people dress back home. Sweatpants? T-shirts? Uggs? Why is everyone dressed like they’re ready to play a basketball game? Nice sweaters, skinny jeans and leather boots are the norm in Italy. Fashion is an art in Italy, and everyone looks naturally, and effortlessly polished.

3. In a suburban university town, there are no historical, beautifully crafted piazzas, or city centers where you can casually drink and meet up with friends and meet new people each night. You will miss stairs. This is weird, I know, but you will miss sitting and hanging out on stairs. Drinking on stairs, eating on stairs, staring at stairs. Drinking in Italy is much more relaxed and casual, and alcohol is used to compliment meals and help ease conversation. You can begin your night with an “aperitivo,” a pre-dinner drink, and because drinking is more socially acceptable and accessible, students are less likely to abuse it.

Italy made me have a love affair with stairs (Photo by Brooke Hamilton)

4. When you get home, you will find yourself saying, “Really? You want to go to Olive Garden?” while grimacing. And you might faint when you see how much one glass of wine costs. It’s not the equivalent to water anymore?

5. If you’re a woman, college boys cat-calling you will no longer annoy you. After living in Italy, ignoring the male species has become second nature. Walking through the streets men will yell out “Ciao, bella!” and after a while, it will lose its appeal. (That still doesn’t make it acceptable.)

6. You will actually miss walking everywhere. Italy is a small country with packed cities, which means that everything is a metro ride or a walk away. This is good though, because it helps to digest all of the carbs you’ll constantly be shoving in your face. Having everything within walking distance makes life simpler and allows you to appreciate the city in the most organic way. (Also, you’ll have gotten used to navigating the cobble stone streets in heels.)

7. Studying things like history, art or architecture in America will lose its appeal. This place is what, like 250 years old? When you’ve stayed in a place where the Catholic Church was born, Michelangelo resided, and where you can grab gelato next to the 2000-year-old Pantheon, studying in a standard classroom and shopping at the local Walmart will undoubtedly depressed you.

8. And finally, you will annoy all of your friends because almost everything you say will start with “Well in Italy…” and you will live with an aching desire to return.

Photos by Brooke Hamilton

Written by: Brooke Hamilton

Brooke is an Education Abroad Peer Ambassador studying Marketing. She is a Sophomore and she participated in the UK Sponsored Bologna to Bologna program.