There are many things that people find strange between different cultures and there are many between British and Italian cultures.
Italians find it very strange that there are no bidets in the UK and that they eat pineapple on pizzas!
But what are some things that British people find strange living in Italy?
We asked our teachers to tell us and here are some of their comments – enjoy!
1 Colpo d’aria
“I just don’t understand what this is: a ‘hit of air’? I didn’t know that air could be so dangerous!”
2 Leaving the house with wet hair
“I don’t have time to dry my hair in the mornings, so I always go out the house with wet hair. Every time I see an Italian friend they always ask me ‘is it raining?’. When I tell them no, they ask why I have wet hair, my answer is always ‘because I didn’t have time to dry it’. At this point, they think I’m completely crazy!”
3 Saying ‘bravo’ when you eat more
“Whenever I’ve been to an Italian lunch, there is obviously always a lot of food. Everyone always tries to encourage me to eat more and every time I decided to take more food, everyone always says ‘bravo, bravo’. I didn’t realise that eating was something to be congratulated for, I just thought it was a normal thing that everyone did, but obviously I was wrong!”
4 Men kissing each other to say hello and goodbye
“I was very shocked when I arrived to see men kissing each other 2 times to say hello and goodbye. I thought it was just something that you saw in films or something that old people did. When my male Italian friends were kissing me at the beginning, it was very strange, but I must say, I actually quite like it now!”
5 Two kisses to say hello and goodbye
This one is particularly informal but is very common among close friends. Obviously it is only used for small things, so if your friend lent you a CD and you give it back to him, instead of saying thanks, he might say ‘nice one’.
“When I tell people I’m sick, they always ask me what my temperature is. I don’t know, because I don’t have a thermometer to measure it! It doesn’t matter if my temperature is 36 or 40, if I feel sick, I feel sick! I don’t think any houses in Britain keep a thermometer, it’s just another culture difference I suppose".
7 “Get in the water after eating and you’ll die”
“I’d never heard this before coming here. I know it’s not really good for you to get in the water after eating, but at worst, you’ll get a stomach ache. The first time I went to the sea with an Italian friend, I went to get in the water after lunch and he said “what are you doing? You’ll die!”. I was really scared, I didn’t know what he was talking about, but in the end he was just talking about the sandwich we ate an hour before”.
8 Understanding how degrees work
“I know many people who got 110/110 cum laude as a mark for their degree, so that is 100%?! To me, that means that you got 100% on every exam at university, so basically you didn’t make one single mistake in 5 – 6 years at university! Most people seem to get a minimum of 100/110, to receive the best mark in Britain, you need an average of 70%! Also, why is the total 110 and not 100? It seems very strange, just like it seems strange that the total for each exam is 30, who chose that number? Even 50 would sound more normal!”
9 Why people stay outside when it’s cold
“I’m not sure if this is a problem just in Sicily where I live, but it seems strange to me that when people go out to drink in January and February, they stay outside. I understand when it’s hot, because staying indoors is often too hot. When I ask people why they stay outside to drink when it’s cold, they always say “it’s not cold like it is in London”, which is true, but in London we don’t stay outside all night! Also, even if it’s not really cold, if you are wearing a coat, scarf and hat, it means that it is definitely cold, so why don’t we just sit in a nice warm pub, have a drink and take our coats off? It sounds much better than standing on the street in the cold watching the cars go past!”
10 What time is ‘morning’ and what time is ‘afternoon’?
“In Britain we consider the morning to finish at midday, from then until 5pm – 6pm, then anything after that is evening. When my Italian friends say to me “let’s meet in the afternoon”, that for me is about 3pm, then they say “so let’s meet at 6.30pm, yea?”. That’s evening for me.... I go to bed a few hours after that!”
All of our teachers love living in Italy, so obviously these things can’t be so strange! :-)
Let us know what you think of these comments by commenting on the Facebook post!