This is the second part of this post about being a happy expat in Italy. You can find the first part here.
6. Don’t be a guest
Even if you don’t want to spend the rest of your life in Italy, act as if you came here to stay. Our brain fatigues too much when we struggle to make a decision so convince it this is home.
The integration process will go smoother once you do so because you will stop the background process of comparison. You will also be more focused on all the information you have to learn.
7. Learn Italian
Remember that you need Italian for your everyday communication. In big cities, it may seem that English is enough. If you want to have a genuine Italian experience, it’s not. Meet people, go to language exchanges, and go out more. Become a social animal if you can. The more people you speak to, the more things you learn. Luckily Italians do a lot of social talking from the butcher shop to the bus. It makes it easy for you to practice every day, even if you live alone.
8. Keep it real
People back home may think your life is idyllic. They see your perfect photos and copious seafood dinners. They weren’t there when you cried home alone because you missed a family event or because a questura employee was rude to you. For your own good don’t set a very high standard. Keep posting your happy moments online but tell your beloved ones about your struggles. In this way, they will be able to support you and we will give a real image of Italy to the world.
9. Be yourself
If one day you don’t want to hang out with Italians and you miss food or people from your home country it’s ok. Do whatever makes you feel better. Being a happy expat in Italy doesn’t mean you have to suppress your personality. Italians are generally perceived as extroverted but some are introverted and it’s fine. The majority likes pasta and wine but some don’t. You will find your niche in this country and people who will love and accept you the way you are.
As a French writer, André Gide, once said, it is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not. Be yourself and shape your social circle around your personality. Listen to your feelings and be loyal to yourself no matter what.
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