How are Californians perceived in Italy?

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This past week was Fashion Week here in Milan and it was such a fun experience! There were events going on every day and so many celebrities and famous people came to attend the fashion shows or perform for various luxury brands. There were also many stores having sales on clothes, so I definitely had to check those out and bought myself a new fit. One of the preconceptions I had about Italy before arriving was that all Italians dress really nice. I was definitely right. The Italians dress so sophisticated, especially here in Milan since so many high-end brands are headquartered here. I could not compete with how they dress, so I felt like I had to buy new clothes….and I did end up buying a few things.

Also, at my school everyone comes dressed super nice everyday. Since Bocconi is a private school, the Italian students that attend come from wealthy families because it is expensive to attend. Since this is the case, these students come to school wearing brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, etc. I do not fit in at all in this sense because a lot of my clothes are from thrift stores. This is something different for me to experience since in the United States, most people go to school pretty casual and it doesn’t really matter what you wear. Here, I feel like everyone tries to “one-up” each other and impress one another. I really like seeing everyone’s outfits though, it’s a nice change from the U.S.

Also, I like how the university is super lenient and easier than the CSU system in California. Attendance is not required and there are no tests or homework at all throughout the semester…there is only one test at the very end and that determines your grade. It can be considered a good or bad thing, but I like how they do that. Furthermore, my experience here being from California has been extremely positive. Everyone here thinks that California is like a fantasy land and they all want to visit or move there. After telling one person that I was Californian, his response was, “So you Californians are actually real? For us, California is like a fantasy, like a dream.”

Additionally, so many other people have told me similar things and are in love with the thought of California. They all think I’m like some sort of goddess just because I’m from California. It’s a really great feeling though, I love it. On another note, I miss driving everywhere. Here, it is rare for students to own cars and many people take public transportation (tram, metro, bus) to go places. The public transportation is really efficient, but it does have negatives. For example, I took the metro once and forgot my apartment keys on the seat….that was the end of my keys because once you get off the metro, there’s no going back. This wouldn’t have happened in the U.S because they would’ve been left in my own car where I could retrieve them later. Other than that, I still love Italy!