Over and over we are warned about culture shock – when we will experience it and when it will go away. While I have one roommate who is having a hard time adjusting, overall I think that in Florence culture shock happens much less than in other areas. The reason being that it is a university city – Italians, Erasmus, and a high population of American students every semester. The university I take courses at has over 700 U.S. students and only a few other international students. In this way, there has not been a lot of adjustment.
While this may be ideal for some, I came to Italy for cultural immersion and frankly, it has been hard to find. I live with five Americans, go to class with all Americans, everyone speaks English, and it is a challenge to avoid the comfort zone.
I hope that as time passes on I find myself in restaurants or cafes where I’m a national minority. So I can finally experience culture shock!