Travel, as the famous American writer Mark Twain once said, is ‘fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.’ This sharp sighted observation rings as true in the modern, digitally connected world as it did during the late 19th Century when he penned it.
Mark Twain went on to explain that travel is ‘sorely needed’ by many people on account of its benefits because it is bound to make people more charitable and broad minded.
Living in Italy, or any other foreign country, will inevitably broaden your perspectives as you experience new people, places and traditions. As an Expat in Italy you’ll quickly find yourself outside of your comfort zone and as you adapt to your new circumstances you’ll be growing as a person, whether you realize it or not!
Fortunately, Italy is a friendly and welcoming country that will make you feel right at home in no time. So even if you’re shy or concerned about whether or not you can make life work for you in a new country, Italy is one of the best places to relocate to in the world.
Slow Down And Watch The Stress Fall Away.
Keeping to deadlines and rushing to beat the clock is not part of the Italian Dolce Vita. If you learn to adopt a more laid back approach to life you’ll soon find that you’re feeling much less stressed.
Italians are well known for taking the time to appreciate their lives. When you move to Italy you’ll immediately notice that people shut up their shops for several hours during the day to enjoy a long lunch and even a quick siesta.
This type of approach, even to business, helps Italians to appreciate life more and as you adapt to the local community you’ll find that you’re picking up the habit of taking your time to enjoy your own experiences more.
Most people in the West live fast paced lives with schedules that are packed full of work and activities. However, there’s rarely time to just relax and watch the world go by. Slowing down and giving yourself more time to simply ‘be’ will really add to the quality of your life while reducing the stress you might have become used to back at home.
Passionate Communication Is Part Of Italian Culture.
Many people from other countries in the West, and further afield, tend to be very reserved about talking about their feelings and even avoid expressing their own opinions. This can lead to feelings of isolation and even depression.
However, in Italy, people love to talk and aren’t afraid to tell you exactly how they’re feeling. Italians embrace communication and will often express themselves extremely passionately using grand hand gestures and emotional displays.
While you’re in Italy you’ll discover that complete strangers frequently strike up a conversation with you while you’re at a cafe or even sitting in a train carriage. This can be a little difficult to get used to if you come from a major city where nobody talks to each other but once you get into the swing of it you’ll soon find that you’re expressing yourself much more freely.
This is a liberating experience and before you know it you’ll be waving your hands around as you express your opinions to friends, family and total strangers alike! Of course, there are limits to what you should say to Italian locals but, as a general rule, as long as you’re fairly positive about their country you’ll be welcomed with open arms.
Italians Have An Incredibly Healthy Diet.
Despite high income levels and a wide selection of healthy food options available in most parts of the Western world, large numbers of people eat a very poor diet. In Italy, however, the general diet and lifestyle is extremely healthy.
Scientific research into the Mediterranean diet has shown that Italians are among the healthiest and long living people in the world. Olive oil, salads, sea food, fresh fruit, vegetables and moderate amounts of wine all add up to creating a super healthy diet. In fact, the Italian diet is so widely appreciated that UNESCO categorizes it as part of the ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’!
Average life expectancy in Italy is around 83 years old. But life expectancy is even higher in the Southern towns and villages where the locals still live the traditional Dolce Vita and eat the classic Mediterranean diet.
So while you’re living in Italy it’s a great opportunity to adopt the diet of the locals. This will improve your health and in the long run should even mean that you end up living to an older age.
Learn To Cook Authentic Italian Food.
If you’re living in Italy and have realized that the local cuisine is healthy and delicious then you are also in the perfect position to learn to cook authentic regional dishes. There’s a wide range of cooking classes and programs for all levels of experience and ages so there’s bound to be something that fits your personal ambitions.
Learning to cook from experienced Italian chefs will help you to make the most of the fresh ingredients that you’ll find in the local markets and stores. Cooking from locally sourced ingredients is much cheaper than eating out in restaurants and you’ll be able to create incredibly healthy dishes that will impress your dinner party guests.
Moreover, you’ll never forget how to cook using fresh ingredients and so even if you return to your home country in the future you’ll be able to take this mindset with you.
The Evening Passeggiata.
An evening ‘Passeggiata’, or stroll, is a widespread tradition where Italians take a relaxed and leisurely stroll in the evening after dinner. People stop and sit in the piazzas and chat to friends, neighbors and passers by without a care in the world!
The passeggiata is not only a chance to show off your fashionable attire and pick up an ice cream but you can also let your food properly digest after dinner. Taking an evening stroll is something that most Westerners rarely allow themselves the luxury of but while you’re living in Italy you should certainly take up the habit. So, when in Rome, or Italy in general, stroll through the bustling evening streets after dinner like the Romans do!
Take Pride In Your Local Community And Culture.
No matter where you live in Italy you’ll discover that the locals take a great deal of pride in their town, city or even the province as a whole. This can be quite surprising to newly arrived Expats because in many other countries people are much less connected to where they live. This is largely because most Westerners’ choice of where to live is usually determined as much by career opportunities as anything else.
In contrast Italians are fiercely proud of their local heritage, traditions, cuisine and community. This is partly because Italians are much more likely to stay in their home towns than the average American and with large extended families who meet regularly they are very aware of their roots and all the local stories and traditions.
There are many advantages to taking more pride in your community, even if you’re Expat living overseas. It will forge stronger bonds of friendship between you and the people you meet as well as help you to really throw yourself into your new life in Italy. You’ll be more likely to go the extra mile to support the local farmers market instead of popping into the multinational grocery store and you’ll be more open to attending festivities and regional events.
This type of community focused attitude will serve you well throughout your life, even if you return to your home country. You’ll soon realize that as you take more pride in your community that the attitude is infectious and will actually lead to the whole area being uplifted!
Family Comes First For Italians.
As a result of our busy modern lives, people in the West don’t always spend as much time as they should, or want to, with their families. Italians however, always put their family first and set aside plenty of time to enjoy a long slow lunch or go for a stroll together.
Of course, this is made easier by the fact that Italians tend to live much closer to their relatives than most Americans or Northern Europeans but it’s also because it’s ingrained in their cultural lifestyle.
Expats who have lived in Italy often observe the virtues of this part of Italian life and begin to put aside more time to spend with their own families. So even if a lot of your family is still back at home in the USA while you’re an Expat in Italy you can still set aside a regular time each week to Skype them. This is a great habit to get into and you’ll soon foster closer, healthier and more enjoyable relationships with your family in general.
Improve Your Confidence And Adaptability.
Living as an Expat in Italy will quickly lead to your confidence and adaptability increasing as you navigate your new life and find your feet at work and in your community.
Moving to live abroad is a big step in life and you should be proud of yourself for taking the decision. Dealing with a new language, culture, traditions, food and finding yourself a place to live and work, all at the same time, will make you much more adaptable.
As a result, your confidence will improve and you’ll have much more faith in your own abilities to handle whatever the world might throw at you. Once you’ve gained new levels of confidence you’ll never lose that quiet belief in yourself and so living as an Expat in Italy is something that will benefit you for the rest of your life.
You’ll Become Less Attached To Materials Things.
Moving to Italy will inevitably mean that you’ll have to downsize and leave a lot of your possessions behind. Even if you buy new furniture and start to replace the items you left behind, the experience of living in another country with far less material things will help you to realize that maybe you never needed them in the first place.
Many Expats report that after moving they became so immersed in the art, culture, cuisine and life in Italy that they became much less attached to their material possessions. This can be a great thing for people, particularly if they continue to live in a more authentic way without worrying about having the latest gadgets or kitchen utensils. Letting go of your unneeded material possessions will leave you more time and energy to focus on the less tangible aspects of life. In essence, as you become less attached to the material aspects of life you rapidly find that you feel liberated and free to live in a more meaningful way.
As An Expat You’ll Grow And Start To Live Your Best Life.
There are many ways in which simply being an Expat will help you to grow as a person but if you’re also proactive about your life in Italy there’s an incredible array of opportunities that you can take advantage of.
For example, Italy has excellent international English language educational programs in subjects such as art, design, fashion and history at some of the best universities in Europe. Of course, there’s also no better place to study Italian than when you’re in Italy! If you learn Italian you’ll be able to practise your new language skills in your day to day life. Alternatively, you can take classes in Italian cooking or learn a new skill such as pottery.
As an Expat it can be easy to become overwhelmed by the new country, culture and life abroad however if you’re proactive there are plenty of educational opportunities beyond living the Dolce Vita.
Spending a significant amount of time living in Italy will change your life forever! Not only will you pick up healthy eating and lifestyle habits but you’ll also learn to appreciate the finer things.
While living in Italy you’ll become more confident, adaptable and liberated as you embrace the new customs around you and throw yourself into a new way of being. Moving abroad can feel like you’re starting again and giving yourself a blank canvas to work with. This makes your time as an Expat in Italy an ideal opportunity to truly become your very best self.