Views #1486 | Intermediate (B1)

Life in Italy

Shantel and Todd talk about how the pace of life differs around the world.

Todd: So Shantel, you were saying that you grew up in a small town and had a very rustic life, but then you moved overseas to Italy, correct?

Shantel: Yes. I moved to Bologna. Bologna, Italy.

Todd: Wow that's such a huge transition, what was that like? Why did you move to Italy?

Shantel: Oh wow. So I moved to Italy because I was studying abroad during my junior year at university. And so, I was to do an immersion program at the University of Bologna, which means all of my classes were in Italian. All of my homework, all of my exams, everything was completely in Italian. And I also had to find my own housing, which was also the first time I found housing on my own 'cause I had always lived in the university dorms at my university in the United States. And so, yeah. To navigate one a new city, a city in general and then finding my first apartment, and learning how to survive a new university system. It was exhilarating and very exciting. Yeah, I loved it.

Todd: That's so cool. So, what was it like when you first got to Italy? Did you have culture shock? You came from a small town environment and now you're living in a big city in Europe.

Shantel: I think my friends would probably say that I was very quick to trust everyone. As I mentioned before growing up in a small town, I knew all my neighbors and I was very trusting of strangers and very welcoming, and I still am. But in hindsight, when I moved to Italy I think I was maybe a little too naive sometimes and especially not knowing the language, it was easy to sort of put my trust or my faith in someone when I needed help because I needed help often, whether for translating or even just grocery shopping. And so, sometimes I think I look back I'm like, "Oh, maybe I should have walked away a little bit sooner," or something like that.

Todd: Right. Yeah. Compare life in Italy to life in the states. What was it like? How was it different?

Shantel: Life in Italy feels so much slower. People are still very productive and they're very passionate and they go to their jobs and they go to work, but there's just this sense of how important it is to enjoy your time, and to enjoy your time with family and with friends. So for example, I feel like in the United States people ... and this is very general, but I feel like people have their jobs and they work really hard to the point where maybe they're so tired they go home and they just want to watch Netflix or watch TV and relax, and that's their way of relaxing is being at home. And in Italy it feels like the way people recharge and the way that they relax and get their energy back is being in the company of their friends, and being in the company of their family. So they'll finish work and everyone will meet up for a drink in the center of town. And it's not to drink a lot it's really just to have a glass of wine, eat some delicious food, and just sit and talk, but about nothing really. Just enjoy the time and eventually people decide to go home, but it'll be hours later even though they're exhausted from work. But that's how they relax and that's how they get their energy back. And they go to work the next day and are productive. I really enjoyed that the most.

Todd: I can relate to that. I was in Spain for about two months just traveling around and the one thing that I still remember the most is that I would go into a little pub, or a bar late at night, 10:00 a night and there would be old people. And I'm not talking like 50 or 60, I'm talking like 75 years old maybe. And they're well-dressed, and they're sitting at a table with their friends, and I can never imagine that happening in the United States. And it was so impressive. I was so impressed by that. That people really in the later years of their life still had that social spirit. They go out, they socialize, they have a good time. And we're talking late at night, like 10:00. You would never see that in America, ever.

Shantel: Yeah. I completely agree. And it's very similar in Italy too.

Todd: So, what about the food? I hear the food is fantastic. Everyone raves about Italian food.

Shantel: Yes. It is so good. And I probably, wow, where to begin with food? I love the cheeses. There's just so many different kinds of cheese. I'm a huge cheese, meat, jam person. So the combination of having all of that available in Italy, especially the different regions are known for different foods. So sometimes you can't even eat a specific type of food unless you're in that city, otherwise you'd have to pay a lot to get it at a different part of the country. So, yeah I mean pizzas were delicious too. I know it's stereotypical but the pizzas were awesome and they're so different than the U.S. they're so thin, super, super thin there's no like deep dish pizza in Italy or double crust or cheese filled crust, that doesn't exist.

Todd: Exactly. Like it melts in your mouth, right?

Shantel: Yeah. It's so delicious. And pastas of course are great. Their wines are delicious too. Yeah, I miss Italian food a lot. A lot.

Todd: Well, I am thinking of going there so you'll have to give me some tips.

Shantel: I would love to.

Todd: Cool.

Answer these questions about the interview.
Audio Lessons about Phrases and Vocabulary

huge transition


That's such a huge transition.

Here, a huge transition means a big change in your current situation. Notice the following:

  1. Going from high school to college was a huge transition.
  2. Moving overseas was a huge transition.

immersion program


I did an immersion program at the university.

An immersion program is an intensive language study program, usually in a foreign country. Notice the following:

  1. I learned French in an immersion program in Paris.
  2. Most immersion programs require intensive study.



It was exhilarating and very exciting.

When something is exhilarating it is thrilling and gives joy. Notice the following:

  1. My trip overseas was very exhilarating.
  2. The move's ending was exhilarating.



But in hindsight I was naive.

Hindsight is looking back at something with more information than before. Notice the following:

  1. In hindsight I should not have quit my job.
  2. Decisions are easy in hindsight.



I was very naive.

When you are naive about something, you are not very wise or smart with your thinking about it. Notice the following:

  1. I was naive to trust my friend with my credit card.
  2. It is naive to think that all people are honest.

talking (like / about)


And I'm not talking like 50 or 60.

Speakers use the phrases "I'm not talking..." or "I'm talking ... " to clarify one detail over another detail. Notice the following:

  1. There were dogs all over the park. I'm not talking cute dogs either. I'm talking ugly, scary dogs.
  2. He is very rich. I am talking like Bill Gates rich.

Vocabulary Quiz

huge transition • immersion • exhilarating
hindsight • naive • talking
  1. In , it was a bad idea.
  2. I studied in an program.
  3. I'm like a lot of money!
  4. Young people can have views of the world.
  5. Moving to the city was a for me.
  6. The movie was . I loved it!

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About the Teacher / Creator

Hello, and welcome to elllo. My name is Todd Beuckens. I've been an ESL teacher for 25 years. I created elllo to provide teachers and students free audio lessons and learning materials not usually found in commercial textbooks.
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