Hello, my name is Samuel Josephson and I am studying at the American University in Rome, Italy for the Spring Semester of 2022. So far, I have been in Italy for two weeks traveling the country and learning the culture here which is extremely diverse from place to place. On my third day here, I befriended a local tour guide who grew up in Sicily and now lives in Rome. It is from her I have learned much. Italy is a land of giants, from the Colosseum which is larger than life even when you are inside it to the city of Pompei which, once you're there you learn, is a full Roman city equipped with a beautiful forum. From my new friend, however, I learned about the modern cultures of Italy, which are completely different from city to city. Any place you go here, they likely will have a different dialect of Italian which can be as similar as English in New York to English in the South or as different as English is to Spanish.
In Rome, I learned that when you go to restaurants there is almost a custom sign language used nowhere else in Italy; holding two fingers up is to ask for either a table or waiter, a 'rock and roll' symbol with a drinking motion will get you whatever wine bottle is open, and the same motion with a closed hand is to ask for water (which you need to emphasize as either bubbly or flat).
In Naples, they don't have this but what I learned they do have is truly beautiful and can only be found there: "Caffe Sospeso." Basically, when you order your coffee you can get a "caffe sospeso" which means you pay for two and they put one of your receipts in a bowl, then a person who can't afford the coffee can get one without paying.
Italy is a beautiful, diverse country and I would never have had the chance to learn about it if it was not for studying abroad.
If you are looking to study abroad, here are some tips I wish I had when I first started out:
WCU and your host institution will also help you, all you need to do is reach out. Studying Abroad, so far at least, has been a great experience that I would recommend to anyone willing to get out of their comfort zone.