Having been in Genoa for three weeks now, I have grown accustom to the culture and have become comfortable in my new city. Before arriving my 3 biggest expectations w
ere to practice my Italian with the locals, improve my communication skills and learn the culture better. I feel like I have made strides in terms of progress in all three of these areas.
From an academic view, I have increased my fluency and have learned a lot about the culture with our guided tours of the city. In addition, our Italian conversation class encompasses the Italian culture, immigration, women in the workforce and the economy. Each day is a deep dive into a new topic and has immensely broadened my understanding of the culture here. This has helped my understanding of how I can proceed with my professional career as well. My goal is to receive a PhD in Finance and do research on risk management and options. What better city to study this subject than the birthplace of the first bank, which was here in Genoa! I also took a trip this weekend to visit the exchange in Milan and stumbled upon Bloomberg’s office while here. For those that don’t know me, I spend much of my free time on a Bloomberg terminal, so it was nice seeing one since I haven’t been able to do research while here.
My Italian has also increased in the short period of time being here since I am forced to use it all day. The reason I decided on Genoa was because of the lack of tourist, which means that many locals know little English, if any at all. This has been mostly a good thing and there has only been one instance where I got into trouble. I wanted to celebrate the 4th of July with burgers for lunch then again for dinner. The one for lunch was amazing and I was looking forward to dinner! I want to an upscale burger restaurant that is 2 blocks away. There was a burger called the Aristocrat with truffles, spinach, walnuts and a fried egg. It also said “Battuta di Fassone” for the meat, which I assumed was their version of Kobe beef since the burger was the most expensive. Turns out I was wrong, it meant raw meat. The burger I was looking forward to ended up being the worst burger I ever had. That is when it really hit me that I am abroad. One simple misunderstanding and you have a raw burger in front of you. On the Brightside, I now know a new phrase for tartare!
As for the remaining three weeks, I look forward to continually improving my communication skills. What has helped strengthen this skill is by having to circumnavigate my speech when I am talking with someone and don’t know a particular word. I must quickly think of how to describe it with words I already know and that will make sense to them. If I do that correctly, they will know what I am talking about and usually give me the word I was looking for.
Ciao until next time,