10 Surprising Ways That Studying In Florence, Italy Will Change You

ladygagasreactions.tumblr.com

 

1. You’ll become addicted. There are few people who study in Italy and think to themselves, “Meh, whatev, Ohio is way better.” Once you’ve lived in Florence there will probably be a small part of you that always wants to return. You’ll develop a permanent sort of nostalgia for the place.

2. Your friends will be totally annoyed with you. “In Italy…” for the five-millionth time will get old and everyone will want to slap the shit out of you. Instead of talking about Italy, just gaze longingly at your scrap book. Eventually you’ll resort to hours on blogs about living in Italy.  <—-Winning!

3. When you return to the US you’ll be appalled by how the guys dress (with the exception of NY, of course). You’ll probably get all judgy about outfits and demand that your boyfriends dress better or, if you’re a guy, you’ll probably get teased for not dressing like a basketball team member anymore. You’ll open your closet and lovingly stare at your skinny jeans and v-neck sweaters that you want to wear but can no longer muster the confidence.

4. Anytime someone makes pasta or pizza it will remind you of how much people suck at making pasta and pizza. Everywhere is terrible except for your beloved Italy.

5. Florence will become a perfect place in your mind. “That would never happen in Italy,” or, “In Italy the men actually shit rainbows. Real rainbows. It’s like Rainbow Bright in every bathroom.”

6. The rest of university will seem lame especially if you’re studying architecture, art history, fashion or anything that’s better in Florence. Going back to Minnesota or wherever will suddenly feel like your education is being stolen from you. How can you possibly learn about Di Vinci like this?

7. If you’re a woman, you’ll be so resistant to cat-calling that you’ll no longer notice college perverts. Is that guy screaming, “WHATSUP LADIES!?” You hardly noticed, you’ve been getting screamed at for months, in Italy.

8. Back in Merca’ at least once you’ll  attempt to buy booze you’re not old enough to buy. Or, if you’re over 21, you’ll try to skip down the street with a bottle of wine, only to be tackled by your friends as they wrestle the jail sentence out of your hand and toss it into a bush. You’ll forgive them as you lay crying on the sidewalk.

9. You’ll feel larger than life and probably become a little cocky. Living in another country is hard. Once you’ve mastered that it’s impossible not to feel like the master of the universe.

10. You can make a game out of confusing the shit out of your parents and childhood friends at home. The entire experience will change parts of you that you don’t even notice were changed. Everyone else will notice. They’ll probably talk about it behind your back while mimicking you with large hand-gestures.

Cruising In My Hood: Campo Di Marte

Dramatic Newspaper

Dramatic Newspaper

Chianti. Winning!

Chianti. Winning!

Espresso Cup With The Symbol Of Florence

Espresso Cup With The Symbol Of Florence

The Church Tower By My Apartment. Ding-Dong, You're Going To Hell (the bell is judgy).

The Church Tower By My Apartment. Ding-Dong, You’re Going To Hell (the bell is judgy).

Mini-Aperitivo

Mini-Aperitivo

My Local Bar. They Keep Treats Behind The Bar And Give Them Out Generously To Oliver

My Local Bar. They Keep Treats Behind The Bar And Give Them Out Generously To Oliver

Moving To Florence: Studying And Living

A lot of people who read this blog are either drunk or interested in moving to Italy, or both, which is why my community of readers are both fun and adventurous and basically better than everyone else. Since I love all of you so much I’d like to help import you to Italy by supplying whatever information I’ve learned to get you here and keep you here (mostly) legally. If you live in Italy or have lived in Italy feel free to comment and add to my suggestions!

Staying Longer Than Three Months And The Dreaded Visa

Let’s start with visa information. Compared to other countries, it’s fairly easy to get a visa for Italy if you’re from a developed country (if your country is considered third-world, they’ll still give it to you but you’ll have a few more hoops to jump through. I’d recommend just taking a boat and running for it.). There are a few different visa options and what you choose will probably come down to what you can afford. Anything up to three months doesn’t require a visa at all and that’s great if you want to come and do some tourism or a WWOOF program for the summer.

After three months you’ll need either a student visa or an extended tourist visa. Getting a work visa in any country is nearly impossible so I wouldn’t even bother. If you choose to do some kind of study program here you are allowed to work twenty hours per week which is nice although keep in mind that the average hourly pay here is like seven euros. The easiest way to come here is if you’re already attending an American Uni that has connections with a Uni here in Italy. However, I didn’t do that. I took out huge loans and attended the post-bachelorette program at SACI. Though, there are much cheaper schools here for literally everything you can imagine from cooking to wine-making, to sculpture and language and let’s not forget about apprenticeships. Getting a student visa is a pretty straight shot. The website lists everything you need to do and submit and once you do that you should be fine for whatever amount of time you’re studying. If you are an artist or a writer you can probably do a Self Employed Visa, the only downside of this is proving you have the financial means to coast through a year or so. You’ll find the information on the same website I linked above.

Money is for sure the biggest problem to tackle because getting a visa requires you to have 1,000 bucks in the bank for every month you ask to be in Italy. It can be a lot. I didn’t do that, instead I submitted bank statements showing that I get paid regularly a certain amount and then I had my mother do the same and write a letter saying she would help me financially if I needed it and that worked just fine. (You should try to have at least a couple grand saved before you move here just in case you don’t find a job right away.).

With that said, I do know a few people who never bothered with the visa, instead they just leave the country every three months to go on a mini-vacation outside of the Shengen area. Apparently, this works, although the risk is that if you get caught over-staying your visa you are banned from Italy forever and also it’s not easy to find work if you’re not legal. Probably better to get the visa.

After you get your visa, when you arrive in Italy you need to go to the Police station within eight days and apply for a Residence Permit or a Permesso Di Soggiorno. I’ll be honest and say that IT FUCKING SUCKS. You’ll be in line for hours, plan on having a shitty day, it’s part of immigrating here. The Permesso is nice to have because once your student visa runs out as long as your Permesso is up-to-date you can  still stay. My old room-mate originally came on a student visa, but then she found a job as a tour guide and stayed on her Permesso alone. Make sure you have it and keep it current. 

Schools

Going to an Italian school is a good deal cheaper than going to an American school. Well, basically going to school anywhere on earth is cheaper than an American school but Italy is really cheap. As far as grants and loans are concerned there are a number of cultural grants that one can apply for from most countries (I know Canada offers them for example). The downside is I haven’t found many in the United States because ya know Ammmmmerca doesn’t fund a lot of cultural exchange programs. However, Italy gives some money to humans who want to study in Italy. 

Finding the right school can make all the difference. If you study your ass off before you come to Italy you can go to an Italian school which is cheaper, but everything will be taught in Italian. If you are like me and you suck at languages (because you are shy and awkward), you can find schools that are affordable and cater to English-speaking humans. Make sure the school is reputable, and that the degrees, certifications, etc. transfer to your home-country. More than anything just make sure you cross compare schools to make sure that you’re not getting ripped off. And do not do housing through the school! They always jack up the prices on student apartments and many schools make a large profit on the apartments. I know from experience.

A Few School Recommendations For Florence:

http://www.artfuji.it/

http://www.lorenzodemedici.it/en/home

http://www.scuolacucinaitaliana.com/

Rent And Apartments

I think it’s similar throughout Italy but most of my experience is with Florence. In Florence you’ll pay around 300-400 euros per month to rent a bedroom in a shared apartment. I highly recommend doing this. Frankly, it’s better for  money, you’ll learn Italian faster, and you’ll be living like the locals. Italians don’t rent their own apartments usually. They live with their parents or they rent a room in a shared apartment. They’ll probably ask for a deposit and first months rent, you’ll most likely have to sign a contract which you can break anytime in Italy with a written notice. Most rent should include utilities. The best way to find a room for rent is to come to Italy and go to universities or cafe’s and look at bulletin boards. This is how most people find room-mates and places to live. Ideally take a friend or someone with you just to be safe. If you are in Florence and insist on an English speaking room-mate try to find someone from the rent wall at the European Institute.

Jobs: How To Make Money

Almost everyone I know either works as an English speaking tour guide (easier to qualify for the job than you might think), teaches English, or works in a pub of some sort. There is also the dog-sitter or nanny thing but those are jobs that take some time to establish. Most other jobs will require to to speak Italian fairly well.  A lot of the people who I know that teach English just tutor kids or whomever here or there. You can advertise in a number of ways from putting up an add online to posting things around the city. Remember, Italy is not very internet friendly. Most things are still done in physical form such as posting “English Teacher” ads on boards in coffee shops or at schools etc. around the city. It’s not easy landing a job before you arrive here. People conduct everything face-to-face (a cute habit which quickly becomes irritatingly inconvenient.). Another option is to do freelance work for American companies. That’s what I do and I love it. You can sign up to a number of freelance websites to write (textbroker.com or freelancer.com are examples), or do graphic design, or a number of other things. If you can do this steadily before moving to Italy it’s probably the easiest option in the beginning.

Romance

You’ll probably arrive here and fall madly in love with some Italian Stallion because a lot of them dress well and they are good at the sex. It’s not that difficult to land an Italian man these days since there are way more of them than there are Italian women. Most of them, because of the culture, are what anglo-saxons equate with “prince charming.” Although keep a few things in mind: His mother probably controls his life and irons his panties. He is probably still friends with every girl he has ever slept with and he comes from a country where having a little somethin’-somethin’ on the side is considered normal and is talked about openly among dudes. He also might be fascist like all “yay fascism”. If you find one who isn’t a cheater, who has stopped breast feeding from his poor mom’s dry and chaffed teets, who isn’t pro-mussolini, and who washes his own panties: marry him. Then you can stay forever and make super cute mixed babies. Tuscan rainbows.

What would you add? Did I miss something? Let me know in the comments below. 😉

Random Stuff I Found When I was Bored: Entertaining Things From Across The Globe

“Struggle is proof that you haven’t been conquered, that you refuse to surrender, that victory is still possible, and that you’re growing.” -Walden

Dolphin Dog: Adorable dog named Grizzly who swims with Dolphins on the reg. If you’re having a shitty day this will surely cheer you up.

Woman from Milan Who Offers Her Virgin Ass As A Reward For Someone Who Finds Her Lost Cat. “My grandma gave me that cat,” she says in the ad. I’m sure the ad is totally granny approved. If granny was a prostitute.

Amazing Photo of Nude Mother and Her Two Daughters. Say what you will, but I love it. My conservative husband (that’s right F, CONSERVATIVE!) shit himself and was all, “Oh MY GOD! Why are they all naked!?” But I think the photo is amazing and you will too if you don’t suck.

For Laughs: Great Pinterest Board Full Of Funny Stuff. I wish I would have made up some of this stuff.

Conditioning

I notice the root of my way of thinking, my way of acting, my way in dealing with problems the longer I live here. Now, I have something to compare it to. I’m getting ready to apply for my husbands Greencard and the way that I approach the situation is so different from the way he approaches it. Maybe it’s cultural, maybe it has more to do with upbringing, or personality type, but whatever the culprit, the differences are there.

According To Francesco, All Workers Are Incompetent.

I hopped online and found the needed forms, filled them out on my computer in Adobe, and saved them to my desktop. Then I called the Embassy and asked them where I take the papers, etc. They told me just take them in during business hours in Naples. As far as I was concerned we are good to go.

Francesco does not think we are good to go. In fact, he’s asked me every other day to call the embassy again. “In case they don’t know what they are talking about, in case they are confused, or in case the website was wrong. ”

“The website is a government website dude, it’s not wrong.” I said.

“But how do you know?”

“I know.”

“BUT HOW?”

“Because I know.”

He’s very suspicious of people’s ability to do their jobs. To be fair, it’s nearly impossible to fire someone in Italy (everyone is on long-term contracts, often LIFE contracts), so there are a good amount of incompetent people in every field. In the US, where you are fired for breathing funny,  I assume that if someone has the job they are probably doing it right because otherwise they would be fired. Yes, I know the US is full of idiots too, but more often than not idiots get fired.

After trying to convince Francesco that we had all of the information he sends me this email:

“I called the consulate in Naples and they told me to write an email to this address

IVNaples@state.gov

For information on the green card.

Will you write the email? You can write in English of course 😉

Love you,

F”

I laugh and reply with something like: Okay honey, but can you tell me what information you want? We already have the forms, we just have to go down, pay the $500 bucks, and hand them our stuff.

And he replies:

“I want to ask:

–        Again which forms (you never know, italians are very bad with papers)

–        If we can send everything by mail or we have to schedule an appointment and if so, how you schedule an appointment.

–        Which documents I need and if I need to have vaccinations.

–        Which is the procedure: if I understood you apply and then they invite you for the interview

I am sorry, I just want to make sure 100 % that everything is alrite.

Love you ,

F”

Vaccinations? Is he trying to get citizenship in the Congo? And I laugh. I mean, I’m glad that he is thorough and covers all the bases. I find all of the cross-checking funny, because I assumed that vaccinations were needed it would “clearly” be stated. Right? Not according to him. According to him all workers are lazy and stupid which means they would forget to add important information to a government website. For me, that seems highly unlikely. Although, it makes sense for a country that still hasn’t caught on to the internet. Hardly any business’ have a website here, and if they do they don’t often put any information on it. Usually it’s just their name and contact hours (totally defeating the purpose). Though, why would they? Everyone here does everything important, in person. For an American that is not only inefficient, it’s obnoxious. Who has time to meet with every human being you need information from or want to purchase from? We don’t have time, and frankly, we enjoy our bubbles and faceless distance supported by the internet. Italians, no. People have to see each other to adequately judge each other. They have to analyze and sum each other up before buying a fruit roll-up, a tea set, or purchasing car insurance. Plus, people will obviously “lie online.” This is something Francesco says often. “But you can’t trust them to be honest without meeting them.” Well, if you lie you’re probably breaking some law, or, sooner or later you’ll lose credibility therefore you’ll go out of business. This makes him study my face, lower his brows, and eventually shrug and walk away. It’s something that he cannot understand, just as I cannot understand why he’s so suspicious of everyone. In my mind, if someone is an idiot, they’re going to get their asses handed to them. In his, all situations must be eased into, well thought out, studied to avoid making a mistake.

Of course, it helps to mention that his father is a retired police officer, his mother a bible teacher, while I was raised by monkeys, so, culture or upbringing, whatever, we’ve both been brain-washed to view the world in completely opposite ways. I approach it head-on, aggressively, he takes his time, slowly, calculating, thinking. I am fine with making mistakes, and I’ll do something wrong fifty times just to see what works. He is terrified of making a mistake and will weigh his options for hours, days, weeks, months before taking any chances. How will it ever work? Hopefully we’ll just balance eachother, or I make him dead. It could go either way.

ImageAlixanne Loosle Photography

Getting Married Italian Style: How To Implode

So, coming up in May Francesco and I will be married for the third time. The first time was in Utah in the town hall so we could speed up my visa process, the second time was a week later in Park City, Utah in front of my friends and family. Now, we’re doing it all over again for his friends and family here in Italy. It’s been an interesting process, and by interesting I mean thank god it’s almost over. His family, especially the mother, are so stressed out I’m worried that at any moment one of them will have a stroke. Though, I can’t figure out what they’re so stressed about.

I was pretty proud of the fact that I planned my Utah wedding from Italy. Of course I had some help from amazing friends and family, but for the most part it was done from across the Atlantic and it was a relatively stress free experience. In fact, I must have something wrong with me because I actually thought it was kind of fun. Well, not ALL of it. I hated anything that required me to interact with anyone else, but I liked the design aspects. Anyhow, I was most proud of the fact that the entire event including the day of was virtually stress free. I was like, “lalala let’s get drunk.” And I did get drunk, too drunk. Here is our photographer’s blog for photos.

Here it’s the exact opposite and I really piss everyone off because I don’t understand where the stress is coming from. These have been some of the issues to date:

 

At the church talking to the priest:

Priest (while Oliver was snarling and snapping at him): Are you going to have children?

Me: I am unsure, me.

Priest: You have to say YES. If you don’t have children we don’t recognize your marriage.

Me: This not nice. What if I can’t do? Rude. And, we already married! Ha!

Priest: Rolling eyes. (He’s never even had sex so I don’t expect him to understand my fear of my vagina accomodating a giant baby).

 

On Wedding Colors:

Francesco’s mom: So you’re going to have red as your wedding color, right?

Francesco’s eyes get big and he looks to me to tell her but I shake my head no and tell him in English to tell her.

F: No. Green, white and gray.

Francesco’s mom: WHAT DO YOU MEAN GREEN, WHITE, AND GRAY!??? THE OTHER WEDDING YOU HAD RED AND NEUTRALS!

F: That was a fall wedding against gray and brown cliffs. So, it wouldn’t look right in a spring garden.

Francesco’s mom: WHY DOES EVERYTHING HAVE TO BE SO DIFFICULT. I THOUGHT IT WAS RED!!!!????????????

Then I snuck out of the living room like a coward and left my husband to be eaten.

 

On How Things In Italy Are Difficult:

Francesco’s sister: Misty, you have to understand that planning a wedding in Italy is very, very stressful. There is much to do.

Me: I plan whole wedding myself. It only stress if you like stress. Me, no like.

Francesco’s sister: Yeah, that wedding was, uhm, cute. Simple, but cute.

 

On Wedding Hair:

Francesco’s Mom: Who are you hiring to do your hair?

Me: I do me. I make hair and makeup. people’s likes here uhm, crimping, and ringlets. This is not my like. I do easy thing. Nice.

Francesco’s Mom: WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!??? NO! YOU CANNOT DO YOUR OWN HAIR! TOMORROW I SCHEDULE SOMEONE TO TRY OUT AND THEN YOU PICK SOMEONE!!!!!

Me: Oh. Ok.

On Getting Ready:

Me: So, me I stay in hotel to ready myself pretty. Everyone they have much stress. It more easy.

Francesco’s Mom: NO! YOU CAN’T DO THAT! EVERYONE WHO ISN’T INVITED TO THE WEDDING NEEDS TO SEE YOU LEAVE THE APARTMENT IN A DRESS!

Me: Why?

Francesco’s Mom: Because! Getting married here is a show, a production, it’s to impress people around you!

Me: Oh…me, I don’t like people look at me.

Francesco’s Mom: Yes, I know you’re shy. Get over it.

 

On Wedding Stationary:

Francesco’s Mom: NOTHING IS GETTING DONE!!!! YOU GUYS HAVE DONE NOTHING! YOU HAVE TO COME HOME SO WE CAN GET THE INVITATIONS DONE!!!

Me: Oh, but it’s December. Me, I thought you say we send out in March them?

Francesco’s Mom: YES! YES! WE SEND THEM OUT IN MARCH BUT YOU HAVE TO KNOW HOW TO DO THEM!

Me: I already make. I see on internet how to. It easy. In The’s United’s States take two weeks. I make. No worry you.

Francesco’s Mom: HOW CAN THEY MAKE THEM IN THE UNITED STATES!? )(/%)(£=$(=)%()£$=)”(% FINE! DO WHATEVER YOU WANT!

Me: You no like technology, yes?

 

On The Fucking Wedding Seating Chart:

This was something that went on every day for about three weeks before my husband had a meltdown and started avoiding her phone calls. Literally, every day, three times per day my mother in law would call us (in December) asking about the Tableau (table chart). She wanted to know style, type, color, and could not for the life of her understand what I meant by, “it will take like one day to put it together.” Finally, hoping to ease the stress I sent her images of exactly what I had in mind. I sent her a really beautiful apple tree in spring. It was a black and white sketch, and we planned on framing, and all the tables in seperate frames and displaying it in some unique way. Totally cute.

Me: You like?

Her: Could be better. This is better!

-Attached were images of cartoon trees with hearts where apples would normally be.

Me: Uhm, that it is beautiful, but we do vintage, elegant. Maybe this too different the style.

*This is the last time she sent me an email and has not responded to my other emails since then.

 

You can follow the wedding planning crap on my pinterest account. I need some good cocktail suggestions for both my daily life and the wedding.

Also, my husband just told me in this weird voice that sounds like a strange form of rebellion that he is going to hire belly dancers, and circus performers and we’re not telling anyone. That should make for an interesting blog post.