Look at me in Italy!

Somebody once said, “Life is a combination of magic and pasta,” so I thought to myself, ‘what better place to spend my first semester junior year than in Milan, Italy?’ My name is Michael Flynn and I am studying Economics with a minor in Italian. Since I was a freshman, all I could do was think about spending a semester in Italy. Then, the day finally came.
​When I arrived, my mind was agog with all the possibilities this new city offered me, and I could not wait to seize every one of them. I spent the first week seeing everything I had wanted to see in the city (my list of sites was the product of many intense Google sessions over the summer). One of the sites I found while researching was the giant middle finger statue in front of the Italian stock market. Another was the Last Supper by Da Vinci. That first week seemed amazing and I thought, if the rest of my time in Milan continues like this, I will just have to stay here forever.
But there was something for which I was not prepared – the second week. After I spent the first week exploring with all these new people and seeing all these new things, I finally stopped for a second and just thought. I thought about how I missed my family, and my friends at BC. I thought about how I just spent every day with these people running around Milan but they knew little more than my name. I purposely chose to come in the fall because I wanted full immersion in Italy and I knew not a lot of other BC students were coming. When I saw everyone else, however, already traveling with their friends from BC that all went abroad together, I began to doubt that I truly wanted that. I was not immersing myself the way I thought either. I had signed up for an Italian class and sat in it for 15 minutes before dropping it, so now all my classes were taught in English, and I was missing everyone at BC. I did not like this feeling at all so I decided it was time for a much needed self-date. A self-date is when you treat yourself.
​I went back on Google and looked for “homey” restaurants, and I found one. I went and I practiced my Italian–and it was wonderful. While I was enjoying the best food that I have had in Milan, I sat there and I thought some more. How did I make friends at BC? It seemed like I had one good friend at the beginning, and then making new friends just became so much easier. But I met all my new friends through my old ones. Even though I was in Italy I thought to myself “why can’t that work here?”.
The next day, I reached out to a teacher from my high school who moved to teach in Milan and she gave me the contact of one of her old students, Annamaria. I was finally doing what I wanted to abroad, get outside of my comfort zone and meet Italians. I reached out to a family friend who lives in Italy and is studying at Bocconi and we went for sushi. She speaks almost no english at all pressing me to practice my italian even more. Then I started to meet people from my dorm, which is almost entirely Italians, because I refused to live in the International dorm that was 15 minutes away by tram. I mean what kind of junior wants to live on Newton?
All of these choices that I made to push me out of my comfort zone so quickly became quite daunting during my second week as I tried to adjust to classes and what seemed like a whole new world. But I’m happy I made them. Although I had a rough second week because of them, it seemed like everything was falling into place. I love my classes and my new Italian friends. Life in Italy can truly be amazing if you just drop your fears and allow yourself to experience it. I mean, I am just an Irish guy pretending to be an Italian, and with my vocabulary and comfort level picking up, people are finally starting to fall for it. I’ll let you know how I am doing later but the big test is this week, fashion week – Wish me luck.

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