Expectation vs. Reality

Buon giorno.  I’ve been it Italy for about a month now, and some things have met my expectations and some things have been different than what I was expecting.  Two of my classes meet once a week for three hours. I’m not used to being in class for three hours straight, so I was nervous about my ability to stay focused.  To my surprise, both of my classes take trips outside of the classroom. For instance, my Cross Cultural Psychology class took a train to a popular grocery store among local Italians to observe how they interact with each other and how the store is laid out.  I noticed that everybody shops in pairs and the store uses every inch of storage space. There are items packed perfectly from the floor to the ceiling. We also went to a playground and park to observe how children interact with each other. Since it was a weekday during school hours there weren’t many children there, but there were many adults chatting as they walked around the park.  In my Renaissance Art History class we have taken trips to multiple churches around the city to admire the art and architecture. I was expecting class to be three hour lectures, but they have been more hands-on learning which makes it much easier for me to learn. Professionally, I was expecting to start my internship immediately and begin getting to know my coworkers. However, the process of getting started took longer than I was anticipating.  Communication via email was very slow, so I decided to go to the office in person to ask about my schedule and responsibilities. After that, I had a better idea about what I would be doing and when. Through this, I learned that Italians value face-to-face communication more than texting or emailing. Personally, I was expecting to have a lot of down time, but that is not the case.  I was also hoping to make true Italian friends who are from Florence, but I am finding it hard to meet locals that are my age that I could hang out with. Lastly, I was expecting to know my way around the city very well by now, but I still occasionally need my map to get my bearings. I am still learning and keeping an open mind about my expectations.