Monday, October 20, 2008


Hi everyone, Sorry this has taken me so long to put up. Ive been really busy with my Italian class and being sick so I haven't really had the time but I thought that everyone at home would get a kick out of seeing some differences from life in Carbonia Italy and life in Monroe Wisconsin. Oh disclaimer this is going to be a very long post because I wrote this during school on one of the days when I have: French, Italian Lit, History, Latin, Art History, and Philosophy so basically i understand NOTHING so i had alot of time. LOL

  • The school day starts at 8:30 but that does not mean that the teachers or the students will actually show up at 8:30 and this is completely normal and accepted.
  • The teachers are late almost every day when all they are really doing is sitting in the "lounge" talking to each other.
  • Classes are a full 1 hour long
  • You have a different schedule every day of the week that can be changed at any time. (I've been in school for a month and still don't have a concrete schedule)
  • You get out at different times every day depending on your schedule. Some time between 1200 and 200.
  • You stay in the same classroom all day and the teachers change rooms.
  • You are with the same kids all day and you have the same class for all 5 years of high school.
  • YES they have FIVE years of high school
  • The classrooms have nothing on the walls and are just white boxes because the teachers move classrooms so they aren't decorated like they are in the states.
  • There are no substitute teachers. If a teacher is gone for a day then you just have a free period.
  • They have no lockers they keep all of there books at home and bring what they need to school every day.
  • They have to buy there own books every year because the school doesn't provide them.
  • The teachers are not guaranteed to know the subjects that they are teaching. (my English teacher does not speak English)
  • In a class when you need a tv or projector you have to go to another room because not every classroom has one.
  • The classes are all lecture style. there is no discussion. the teachers talk AT the class and the class takes notes for the whole hour.
  • The teachers are ALWAYS right even if you know for a fact they are wrong like if its written in the book differently then what they say you do not correct them because they are right and the book is wrong.
  • All of there tests are oral tests. they have to study the whole chapter and the teacher can ask them any question she or he wants and they have to have studied that part of the chapter. they are not given the questions ahead of time either.
  • There are no sports or clubs in school. school is for learning and that's it..
  • There is no school "pride" or school spirit.
  • There are routinely strikes for the students and for the teachers and this is a normal thing. Its not a huge deal like it is in the states.
  • You do not eat lunch at school. you go home and eat lunch with your family.
  • It is normal for teachers or students to just get up and leave class to answer there ringing cell phones.
  • Family meals are very important
  • Italians eat ALOT
  • A normal meal consists of a full plate of pasta (that would be the end of the meal in the states) then there's some kind of meat dish. (the first meal we had in Rome we all filled up on pasta because we didn't know there was more.. then we of course filled up on the meat cause it was so delicious.) and then you have fruit after wards.
  • When you empty your plate they think you want more and if you don't empty your plate they think your some kind of alien with an eating disorder because you don't eat enough.
  • They don't have sliced white bread. they either have fresh homemade bread or they go buy fresh bread from the store every day.
  • Bread with EVERY meal
  • Sandwiches here are ALOT of bread with a little meat as apposed to the opposite in the states.
  • They don't have snack food
  • There is really no fast food or take out here.
  • McDonalds is REALLY expensive like 3 euro for one burger (i haven't had it yet so idk if its more or less good)
  • When you go out for pizza everyone orders there OWN pizza. which is about the size of a medium pizza in the states. then if you don't finish it the waiters look at you like your nuts because normal people can eat the whole thing even if its piled high with STRANGE toppings.
  • They put french fries on there pizza.
  • Breakfast is really really light. usually only water or cafè and a small cake like thing.
  • Lunch is late too.. its around 230
  • They eat dinner really late. Usually at around 830-1000 is normal time for dinner
  • If you want a glass of water here you have to pay for it its not free like it is in the states.
  • When you want water you have to ask for flat water because other wise they will give you bubbly water. and you have to ask for a small bottle or you get a whole liter.
  • They do not drink tap water here EVERYTHING is in bottles.
  • cafè is espresso and is REALLY strong
  • American coffee is basically water here and is really nasty.
  • They do not use cloths dryers. they hang everything out side.
  • You cant walk around the house barefoot you have to have shoes on at all times
  • They do not have carpet they only have tile floors
  • It is normal to only have one or two electrical sockets in one room.
  • There are light switches in the hallway for the bedroom and light switches in the bedrooms for the hallway so your never in the dark.
  • The toilet bowl part (in the states the part that holds the water that is behind the toilet that the flusher is on) is mounted on the wall up by the ceiling.
  • The flusher is a tiny button on the wall.
  • You cant flush the toilet right after its already been flushed because it takes forever for the water to fill back up in order to flush again.
  • Italians have a weird second toilet called a bidet (which im not going to explain because i don't really know what its for because i don't use it. but if you want to know click HERE that is the Wikipedia definition of bidet)
  • Most of the cars here are small
  • All cars are manual transmission
  • Stop signs are optional annoyances to Italians that the government puts up to make the roads look more organized but are not things that have to be taken seriously.
  • Cars drive VERY fast even in town.
  • Roads are very narrow. for two cars to fit through at once time one car has to pull over to the side of the road to let the other one pass.
  • It is perfectly acceptable to park on the sidewalk, or where ever else you choose to put your car.
  • When you are crossing the street you look both ways and then run because you know that cars will not stop for you.
  • Honking is a perfectly normal thing to hear and you hear it ALOT.
  • you don't get your drivers license until you are 18.
  • You can drive a scooter/moped type thing when you are 16
  • It is normal and not gay to see two boys on one scooter
  • In fact you see 2 boys on one more often then you see a boy and a girl on one..
  • Italians talk very loud and very dramatically with ALOT of emotion.
  • When your talking to someone (this could very well just be me but i have thought it on more then one occasion) you can sometimes think to your self that the person should be saying "1 and 2 and 3 and 4 come on ladies feel the burn" (like a bad Richard Simmons work out video in the 70's) because they are moving there hands so much.
  • a normal conversations can sound like a fight because they speak so loud and with so much emotion.
  • it is normal and acceptable to have a verbal argument with someone on the street.
  • Everyone is very friendly and likes to talk
  • they are very open to new people
  • when there is a new person everyone wants to get to know them
  • Girls style
  1. Skinny jeans
  2. sweaters
  3. converse/flats/heals
  4. polos
  5. Tight fancy t shirts
  • Boys Style
  1. Unfortunately the same as the girls (Italian boys look somewhat gay by American standards lol)
  • Everyone LOVES sunglasses
  • They are very in to designer labels
  • everyone wears glasses (designer) and not many people wear contacts
  • they don't dress casually
  • when you go out you have to change because your "home clothes" are different then your "going out" cloths.
  • you don't hang out at each others houses
  • you hang out at the piazza and walk around in circles for a couple hours then go home.
Public Transportation
  • Busses and trains in every city and town
  • They are not always on time and not of the best quality but its very nice and very cheap to get around Sardegna on the bus or the train.
Well those are some Italian --> USA differences to amuse your selves with for a while.. hope you enjoyed reading them.


Faith said...

Wow that was a really great post to read! I would really love to go to Italy for my exchange!

Jacopo said...

hey i'm italian an afser in Texas, and i guess this post is the funniest i have ever read, and all that stuff you wrote it's true.
I've laughed for 15 mins while reading and i still keep laughing!
Really really good, i hope you're enjoying italy...good luck...byee

elena usai, said...

You are absolutely awsome! I red through the all thing and I couldn't stop laughing!
I'm from Guspini! Conosci??? Vivo a sacramento perche faccio l'universita qui and i was an afs exchange student in 2005/2006 in orange county, CA.
I hope your experience is going well, i'll keep reading your blog and I will let my boyfriend (americano) read it too so he can understand me a lil better.
Take care and enjoy your final months ;)

Christy said...

Wow the culture's really different there :) I kinda wanna go to Italy just to eat the awesome food that it offers :) and park your car anywhere. cool :)

Anonymous said...

I'm lol right now because I'm Italian and you don't even know how funny it is reading this ahahah. I wanted to say that usually the teachers don't arrive late or answer the phone. it actually depends on the quality of the school. The scientific and classical studies are the hardest so it's a better school. I know it's not fair but its how it works over here... the professional and social studies and lenguages studies are much much easier! the bidet it comes in handy when you did your things in the toilet and want to wash yourself!! I couldn't live without a bidet!! ahahah
and for us it's normal eating that much!
enjoy this beautiful place, silvia