Lauren Gralenski has been studying in Rome since September (image credit: Nick Klotz)

My mom always told me that studying abroad was the best thing she could have ever done during her time in college. Many Southern New Hampshire University students take the opportunity to study abroad across the world. The most popular country that Penmen go to is Italy. For some students studying abroad is the first time they experience life outside of their comfort zone. Sometimes that different lifestyle can come to an individual with a shock, that is called culture shock.

“Living in Italy is quite the adjustment from the SNHU community. I have certainly had my challenges with having to adapt to so many cultural differences,” said Lauren Gralenski (’20) who is studying at the American University of Rome. Over the course of a day, the little differences add up fast.

One sits down for a breakfast of a cappuccino or espresso and maybe a cornetto, which is Italian for a croissant. It’s near impossible to find “American” coffee.

“The closest thing you can get is an Americano, which is just espresso with water,” said Gralenski.

Getting dressed in the morning is also an adjustment.

“Even when it was high 80’s in September, most Italians were wearing pants. They dress for the season. Nobody wears shorts,” said Gralenski.

Winter coats are also common through most months, even though the climate is warmer than in New Hampshire. Along with that Italians wear neutral colors and that you don’t see many people wearing branded clothing. It was also stated that athletic clothes are for working out, not for going about day-to-day activities.

Travel gives a perspective one does not understand fully until they do it themselves, even when you just look at the little things. As someone who’s has been to a number of countries around the world I can easily say who I am is from where I have been. The world is constantly changing, we are changing with it and we need to adapt to multiple surroundings and environments.

Leave a Reply