Expat Interview With Amy - British Expat In Italy

Published: 26 Oct at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Italy
Two years ago Amy Jones, a Brit in her mid-twenties, decided that life in the UK wasn't really what she wanted. After studying languages at university and then temporarily satisfying her wanderlust with a round the world trip, she came to the conclusion that she actually wanted to live and work abroad. She wanted an exciting new location. A place with good food, nice people and of course, a great climate. So, she now lives and works in beautiful southern Italy as an English teacher, blogging, writing and eating (a lot of) gelato in her spare time. Amy runs her own expat blog called Sunshine and Tomatoes (see listing here)

Sunshine and Tomatoes

Here's the interview with Amy...



Where are you originally from?
I'm originally from Worcestershire, in the UK.

In which country and city are you living now?
I'm living in a small town near Foggia, in Puglia, Italy.

How long have you lived here and how long are you planning to stay?
I've lived here for almost 2 years, and hopefully I'll stay here for a good while yet!

Why did you move and what do you do?
I moved to take a job as a teacher in a small, private language school. I'm still working at the school, teaching lots of Italians (young and not so young!) to speak English.

What's it like teaching in Italy?
Teaching here is great. The adult and teenage students are, on the whole, friendly and keen. The youngsters are just so much fun to teach! I have about 25 contact hours a week, but that doesn't include planning. I teach mainly in the afternoon and evening, but sometimes mornings too. Most schools work like this.

Sunshine and TomatoesDid you bring family with you?
No, I came on my own.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
Having already lived in Germany for a while, and then doing a world trip after university, I knew that there would be lots of cultural differences that I'd need to get used to. The transition wasn't easy (particularly because of my distinct lack of any Italian!) but I have discovered so many wonderful things about southern Italy along the way.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
Well, there aren't really any other expats in the area! Making friends wasn't easy because I didn't know the language, but gradually I am forming friendships. In general the people here are very warm and friendly, so that helps!

What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
I live in an agricultural town which is very traditional. There are lots of religious festivals which, strangely enough, always seem to involve dangerous fireworks. Those are not to be missed, but do stand well back! The area is rural so there aren't any big exciting cities, but there are plenty of little towns to visit. The food here is simply amazing- sampling the local cuisine is a must!

Sunshine and TomatoesWhat do you enjoy most about living here?
I like the laid back lifestyle. Nobody ever seems to hurry. The food is incredible, the gelato being particularly tasty! And let's not forget the weather. I'm writing this in mid-October and it's still really warm and sunny outside.

How does the cost of living compare to home?
It's cheaper in general, but salaries seem to be lower. Eating out doesn't cost the earth, and fruit and veg cost next to nothing. Things like car insurance are pretty pricey however.

What negatives, if any, are there to living here?
The lack of punctuality! Italians (particularly the southerners) are notoriously bad when it comes to time keeping. I can handle 5 or 10 minutes, but when someone is half an hour late or more, this annoys me somewhat! They don't do too well at organising themselves.

Sunshine and TomatoesIf you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving here, what would it be?
Take the bull by the horns and throw yourself into southern Italian life! Try your best to learn the language because without it, you'll struggle. Be aware that it's a small town with lots of traditions and customs, so respect these, and just enjoy the laid back lifestyle of la dolce vita!

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Apart from dealing with constant lateness (!) I'd say that learning the language has been the most challenging aspect. I can to Italy knowing nothing, and at first it was quite frustrating. However, as well as being challenging, it has definitely been worth the effort. It's also hard being away from family and friends. Sometimes you just need them around you and unfortunately you can't just pop round to their house for tea!

Sunshine and TomatoesWhat are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
1. Research the country/location a bit before you go, so that you are at least a little bit prepared for what you might find.
2. Make sure you're clued up on what health care is available to you, any insurance you might need and other boring but necessary stuff like that!
3. Don't worry if people stare at you or point at you. Yes, you are different, and yes, eventually they'll get used to you!
4. Don't expect, even in this day and age, that everyone will know some English. Get ready to learn the language!
5. Be prepared to be thrown in the deep end, especially if you are moving to a small town.

Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
My blog is a light hearted look at all things southern Italian. I write about cultural differences (especially the bizarre/embarrassing ones!), local customs, food, fashion...basically the southern Italian lifestyle as experienced by a Brit!

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
You can check out my blog to find out more about southern Italian expat living, email me at amylucindasblog{at}gmail-dot-com or find me on twitter (see below)

Amy's expat blog is called Sunshine and Tomatoes http://sunshineandtomatoes.blogspot.it which is very worthy of a visit. Amy can be found on Twitter @BritInItaly and Sunshine and Tomatoes has an ExpatsBlog.com listing here which has some great reviews already - stop by and leave her a nice review if you can spare a quick moment! If you liked Amy's interview, please also add a quick comment below.
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Comments » There is 1 comment

Bex wrote 7 years ago:

Amy! I love that you've taken life into your own hands and taken the leap to live an expat life. I too have done the same, but in Greece (interview to follow soon). I love it here and note the differences between Northern & Southern Europeans: laid backness, lack of time management, "siga siga2 (slowly slowly) attuiture to life. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.

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