Saturday, January 4, 2020
Going abroad is going to be a big step in my life. I’ve never been to Europe before so there’s a big part of me that doesn’t know what to expect at all from Italy. There are parts of my identity however, that I think will help me in adjusting to the new environment. The most important one that I think will benefit me most is my being Hispanic-American.
I come from two different cultures; My dad was born and raised in the USA while my mom came from Colombia. These differing cultures have been integrated into me as I’ve grown up, giving me a broader perspective and understanding of the world around me.
Being a white Hispanic has given me cultural exposure and practical skills that I can now take abroad with me. Because of my background for instance, I’ve been eating a mix of different foods from a young age, ranging from burgers to arepas. I’ve been engrained with an openness to trying different foods which will come in handy now that I’m traveling to a completely different country. I’ll definitely be needing to make dietary adjustments while I’m in Italy, but because of my experience, this part doesn’t make me so nervous.
I’ve also benefitted from being bilingual, speaking both Spanish and English in my household. I think this skill will be most helpful when learning to adjust to the Italian language. The Spanish language has many similarities to Italian which will allow me to draw similarities to what I already know more easily.
There are also Italian customs that I believe I’ll find familiar to that of my own Hispanic culture such as the Italian’s display of close and warm affection. I know that Italians usually greet each other with kisses on the cheek which is similar to what Hispanics do. Hispanics also have a reputation of being very affectionate with others, even outside of the family. This Italian habit will not be as shocking for me to adjust to as I’ll have already had this exposure growing up.
While going to Italy makes me a little nervous because of the drastic change, I think there’s a lot of cultural habits that I’ll be able to feel comfortable with because of my current cultural background. I’m excited to see how my identity comes to play out in the oncoming months abroad and how I’ll incorporate it into my new environment.