10 Biggest Cultural Shocks in Italy

6 minute read
10 Biggest Cultural Shocks in Italy

Italy, often known as the Land of Possibilities, is a popular destination amongst Indian students who want to pursue engineering, MBBS, architecture and other programs. Studying in the universities of Italy is an eye-opening experience as, like the cost of studying, the standard of living is also high. Studying in UK, USA and Canada is easier forIndian students because English connects all. But when it comes to European countries like Italy, you’ll be shocked to know that the language isn’t just the only cultural shock in Italy that Indians face! 

About Italy

Active volcanoes, snow-capped mountains, sunny islands, a coastline of 8000 km and the 5th most visited country in the world- that’s Italy! The country that adorns its cities such as Venice, Rome, Milan and Naples with the best architecture, Italy is much more than just Pizzas and Pasta. 

Italian fashion needs no introduction. Milan, the fashion capital of the world is home to Gucci, Armani, Prada, Versace, Valentino, Moschino, Dolce and Gabbana. Education in fashion is also touted to be the best in Milan, Italy. More than 32,000 international students are studying in Italian Universities. Education in Italy is free and compulsory from ages 6 to 16. 

10 Biggest Cultural Shocks in Italy 

August is Vacation Time

August 15 is Ferragosto, a public holiday celebrated in all of Italy. But here’s the catch. Ferragosto can last for a week or two- or even the entire month of August! The fact that August is the hottest month in Italy inspires many Italian families and friends to plan group vacations to cooler places like Lake Como, Tuscany, etc.

Afternoon Naps

In Italy, most shops and businesses close down from noon to 4 or 5 PM. People return home to have lunch and take naps, before going back to their businesses for a few hours and closing by 7 PM. So if you are an international student in Italy, make sure to buy your groceries for lunch before time. This is one of the biggest culture shock in Italy

“Fresh” Milk

In Italy, ultra-high-temperature Milk is very common, representing almost 5% of the entire milk consumption. While it is considered better for the environment, UHT Milk is not necessarily always fresh and can lose its nutritional value. It is milk in a tetra pack, something we Indians aren’t used to. To check whether you can digest the UHT milk or not, try it while you are in India so that it is easy for you to find alternatives in Italy. 

Also Read: Italy Student Visa

Eating Habits 

In India, we are told to have a heavy breakfast and that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. However, the Italians don’t stand by this, instead choosing to have a big meal during lunch or dinner. In Italy, Breakfast is usually an espresso and some toast. Also, lastly, Italy is renowned for its pizza. However, Italians tend to eat pizza with a knife and a fork, unlike the majority of the rest of the world who eat it with their bare hands. 

Pasta is the staple food of Italy but if you aren’t a very big fan of it, it’s no big deal. You can always make your food (Indian or any other cuisine) if you are living in an apartment. If you are living in a hostel, please choose one that offers multi-cuisine meals to the students beforehand. This is one of the biggest culture shocks in Italy.

Laidback Attitude 

Imagine you make a friend while studying in Italy and you plan to him/her at a certain eatery at 3 pm. As a disciplined Indian, you might reach the eatery before 3 pm but Italians take their own time. They don’t give any excuse for it, they just arrive at their own sweet time!

No Washing Clothes After 10

This may come as a surprise but there are laws about at what times you can make noise and use your washing machine. Since people live in blocks of flats, it is better to have your laundry finished by 10 PM to avoid enraging your neighbours. 

Explore the Cost of Studying in Italy

Cafe Culture

Coffee is an essential part of life in Italy. The Cafe Culture in Italy is similar to what is usually associated with Bar Culture. Instead of taking your coffee and taking a seat, the Italians stand by the counter and exchange pleasantries with the Baristas. There are sitting arrangements that are charged and many Italians prefer to communicate with their local barista instead. This is a good opportunity for you to communicate.

Italians are Loud 

Like Indians, Italians are loud when they communicate. Like Spanish, the tone of the language is high which is why even pleasant conversations sound like fights. But if you have sustained yourself in the busy lanes of India, you will do good in Italy. 

Warm Clothes all Year Long

Did you know Italians wear warm clothes all year? Yes, this is one of the biggest culture shock in Italy. Italians have been noted to tend to wear warm clothes all year long. Even in June, which is a hot month in India, Italians will walk around wearing scarves and jackets. This doesn’t mean that you have to wear a long jacket in high temperatures just to be a part of the crowd. Fashion in Italy is all about experiments, so go all out!

Drinking Outside 

This is one of the culture shocks in Italy. For our lovely Italians, you can drink on the beach, in the public washroom, at your home or on the road! Just not at work and universities, Italians are strict with their laws. Shops in Italy can’t sell alcohol or serve alcoholic beverages below the age of 16. So technically, there is no age limit for drinking although it is 18 years old on certain premises.

Top Universities in Italy

If the European country with the leading fashion, opera, theatre, literature, film, art and architecture has attracted you, these are the top universities you can study in:

Top Universities in Italy QS World University Ranking 2024
Politecnico Di Milano123
Alma Mater Studiorum- University of Bologna 154
Sapienza University of Rome 134
Universita di Padova219
University of Milan276
Politecnico Di Torino252
University of Pisa349
Universita-Vita Salute San Raffaele595
University of Naples- Federico II335
University of Trento429

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How is the culture in Italy?

People in Italy are usually direct communicators who speak openly about their emotions.

What is unique about Italian culture?

Italian culture is very diverse and rich, with a strong emphasis on family, art, and food.

Is quality of life high in Italy?

Yes, Italy boasts a high standard of living, with a good healthcare system, a strong economy, and excellent education opportunities.

Through this blog, we do not mean to derate the culture shock in Italy, the richness of which is known globally. Our main aim is to tell you that if you wish to study in Italy, you should know the main cultural differences between Italy and India so that you can make an informed decision or prepare yourself beforehand. Many Indian students dream of pursuing education in foreign nations due to the exposure and career growth they offer. Consider joining a free counselling session with Leverage Edu if you plan to study abroad.

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