Americ-her? I hardly know her!

Over the course of my time in Orvieto, I’ve had many great conversations with a PhD student in my lab, Gabriele. We’ve exchanged questions about our lives, families, cultures, languages, and from these conversations I’ve learnt lots about him and Italy. When I asked him about his thoughts on Americans, he said that most of what he knew was from the news. He’d never been to America and hadn’t met that many Americans so was unsure of the stereotypes and thought it would be difficult to generalize – Americans were lots of different things. The few times he had interacted with Americans had been at university or on nights out, where he found them to be very sociable and fun.

When talking about similarities between Italy and America, he talked about music, technology and fashion trends. He thought lots of trends were shared between the two due to the internet and social media allowing information to pass between countries much faster. He noted that this was especially prominent amongst the younger generations, where social trends were changing quickly and spreading faster, fueled by platforms like TikTok and Instagram.

I found this conversation to be a little surprising as I had expected him to know more about what was going on in America, but I guess that’s because America is very America-centric, so all our news is about what’s going on in our country and I had assumed that other countries were equally as interested in us. However, this clearly isn’t the case.

This interaction gave me a greater appreciation for studying foreign languages and being able to have incredible experiences like this, where I can immerse myself in another culture and develop a global perspective. I would love to keep having conversations like this so that I can better understand other experiences and appreciate their perspectives; being able to speak with them in a language that they feel comfortable with is a great way to do so.

In short, thank you CSLC for this eye-opening experience!