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Seven important things to do before coming to Italy

7Are you leaving for Italy? Are you ready to live and study in a foreign country? If the answer is “no” or if you still have some doubts or fears about your experience far from home, please read the following tips:

• First suggestion: try to get to know Italy through books, guides, newspapers and websites. Surf on the net and look for blogs of people living in Italy, but also read authoritative websites regarding geography, history, culture, and economy of the country, such as for example the Italian Government Tourist Board.This will help you to realize why Italy is so peculiar compared to the rest of the world, and you will also notice that many stereotypes about Italy are not always completely true.

• Second suggestion: be ready to be flexible about different habits, weird traditions and odd behaviours. Culture shock is unavoidable, but get trained to cope with it. It is an important challenge and it is rather sad to see how many students give up by gathering exclusively with co-citizens throughout their stay or, more drastically in some cases, by leaving Italy.

• Third suggestion: Even if you are going to learn Italian in a school or university, try to learn some basic vocabulary for surviving the first days after your arrival. Remember that not many Italian speak good English and be prepared to speak English slowly if you want to make yourself understood correctly. You can also learn some Italian on the net, the following sites are extremely useful:
italica.it
www.bbc.co.uk

• Fourth suggestion: If you are not a student carrying a European Union passport and if you are going to stay over in Italy over 90 days make sure your student visa will be delivered to you before your departing. Please do not forget that in some countries visa procedures take up to 5-6 weeks and they are complicated, stressful, and often unforeseenable. For more details contact directly the Italian Embassy in your country.

• Fifth suggestion: Please, do not create too many expectationss from your future stay. Your experience abroad does not depend on them at all, you have to make it day after day and it is going to be a mixture of ups and downs, good moments and bad moments. Do not think your stay as a holiday where everything has to be scheduled and remember that, if something does not work as you expected, the only solution is not to go back home.

• Sixth suggestion: Make sure your health insurance is liable to cover medical treatments abroad. Please note, if you are a student from a European Union country you do not need a health insurance: you only have to apply for the E111 document at the national health service in your country.

• Seventh suggestion: pack your luggage accurately. Do not forget things such as first-aid medicines, a dictionary, different kinds of clothing (the weather can be crazy in Italy). Do not put valuable goods in your suitcase, since they can be stolen in some Italian airports. If you wish to send over some of your belongings by mail, make sure you write down on the parcel: “vestiti usati e effetti ad uso personale” (used outfits and effetcs for personal use), otherwise you will have to pay duty on their delivery.

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