Fitting In: Rome, Italy Style

By: Ann Pacione
Major: Marketing
John Cabot University, Rome, Italy

As for actually trying to fit in, and be a “local,” it’s a little different from being an average American. The Italians not only dress to impress, but they dress for the season, not the weather. They take great pride in their appearance, unlike the average American student who can be found sleeping in the hallways in their WMU sweats. They even chose to carry their supplies, or keep it all in larger purses, than to carry an ‘ugly’ bookbag. It’s very different. They even practice the siesta, which is a chunk of about four hours of the day, where the city is just deserted, because the locals are back home napping. The night life is crazy here, too. The Italians don’t drink like us Americans do. It’s a laid back drinking, versus aggressively getting hammered. It’s a classy event.

By: Annie Shmina
Major: Organizational Communication
John Cabot University, Rome, Italy

I haven’t done anything too wild and crazy in the first week that I have been here, but I have learned a few things just from observing and living the culture.

1. The seagulls, Pigeons and other strange birds sounds like laughing/screaming humans.

I was fast asleep when I heard what sounded like a group of people laughing hysterically but it also sounded like they were screaming bloody murder at the same time. I abruptly woke up to see what was happening when I realized it was the stupid birds, it’s the most obnoxious thing in the world and it happens every morning, sometimes it is even part of my dream.

2. There is no need for exercise because I walk about 9 miles a day… not to mention the stairs to get to the top floor of my dorm.

I walk everywhere! it’s kind of nice though because the walk is always beautiful and we have had perfect weather so far, about 50-60 degrees everyday! My poor feet though… they do not appreciate the distance. As far as exercise I haven’t stepped in the gym yet but I think I will participate in the exercise class on the lawn of the Colosseum!

3. I am American and it’s obvious.

I try to blend in as much as possible but I don’t know what gives it away, the blonde hair or the terrible accent? Sometimes it works if I put on some lipstick, tights, and sunglasses and walk with a purpose like I know exactly where I’m going. They’ll just think I’m Swedish or something.

4. Italians dress to impress

I am not kidding, girls wear tights, skirts, dresses and heels on the daily or they will wear some tight pants with boots. They always have their makeup done and hair perfect. The men never wear baggy jeans or sweat pants and they don’t wear tennis shoes. Today was my first day of class and I thought I had dressed fairly cute because I was aware that Italians are very fashionable, but when I got to class boy did I feel underdressed. Looks like I need to do some shopping! Oh, and they also don’t carry North Face backpacks… what was I thinking.

5. I love the way Italians say my name.

They pronounce it (ON-EEE?) and they always sound confused when saying it.

6. You will trip on the cobble-stone even with flats on.

I have already done this… yeah, it’s totally embarrassing and yeah, they definitely laugh at you.


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