Honors student, Abbigael VanDusen recently studied abroad in Italy with Professor John Caserta. Below is her comments on your trip as well as some pictures. Thank you, Abbigael, for sharing!
“Italy was definitely an experience. The lifestyle is extremely different than American lifestyle. The biggest differences were the lack of traffic signal reinforcement, the work day, and that ice is a luxury and water is not free! In Rome, traffic signals are merely suggestions. A stop sign is equivalent to a yield sign ad some large intersections do not have stop signs or lights at all! The road could span across large enough for 4 or 5 car, and there were no traffic lines to distinguish lanes. At times it seemed like a jumbled mess. The roads are much smaller than in America, which makes the cars smaller as well.
More so in Capri than in Rome, a work day ran as long as the shop owner intended it to be. At times between one and three in the afternoon, we found some shops closing, so they go eat lunch or spend time with their families. Entrepreneurs in Italy did not work an 8+ hour day like Americans, but rather a shorter 5-6 hour day.
Upon going into shops or restaurants, we quickly realized that water was not free anywhere. We were offered water with gas (sparkling) or no gas. And yes, it was always cold, but drinks were rarely served with ice. The couple times that we asked for tap water, we were laughed at and told that we had to buy bottled water. In Italy, a tip is not necessary because it’s typically included in the meal. Sometimes the tip was included by a cover charge that was added to the bill, depending on the restaurant. Sometimes the charge would be more depending if you wanted to sit outside or not. And most of the time, the food was fantastic!
There was a lot to take in and learn on this trip. I knew Europe was different than America, but it’s extremely different when you experience it for yourself. At one point on the trip, a group of us were exploring the island, and we had a local man from Capri walk around and show us the local way to the Phoenician steps. Italians are generally very nice and welcoming, and they want to bargain with you and have you buy from their shop. I would like to encourage this experience to others. Ciao!”