American Expat Living in Italy - Interview with Carrie

Published: 8 Mar at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Italy
Carrie is a teacher living in Milan since 2011. Moving across the world searching for a new adventure, she blogs about her travels and experiences both in Italy and other countries. In her spare time, you'd probably catch her reading, baking or planning her next trip! Carrie's expat blog is called five one five zero zero (see listing here)

ahhh, Italia!
ahhh, Italia!

Here's the interview with Carrie...

Where are you originally from?
I am originally from Cincinnati, Ohio but spent 10 years living in Savannah, Georgia prior to moving abroad.

In which country and city are you living now?
Milan, Italy

How long have you lived in Italy and how long are you planning to stay?
I have lived in Milan since August, 2011. My current work contract ends this June, 2014 but I've been asked and agreed to stay for at least one additional year.

Learning to make tagliatelle during a cooking class
Learning to make tagliatelle during a cooking class
Why did you move to Italy and what do you do?
I moved to be able to travel to new places and experience different parts of the world. I am a teacher and I teach at an international school.

Did you bring family with you?
I'm living in Milan by myself. My immediate family and my dog are all in Savannah, Georgia.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
Living in a foreign country definitely has its challenges. I'm very lucky that my employer helps to complete most of the paperwork to live and work abroad. I also work with a large number of expats and this makes the transition easier since we all speak a common language and can rely on each other for our network of friends.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
Most of my friends are from my job. I've met other people that live in the area, but the language differences are definitely a barrier.

Beginning my overseas adventure
Beginning my overseas adventure
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
There is lots to do in Milan. There are always a variety of bands in town, or art shows that travel here. Since it is a large city, a lot of possibilities exist.

What do you enjoy most about living in Italy?
I enjoy the European lifestyle. It's definitely different from living in the US and at times things are difficult. But, there are moments when you look at where you are and wonder how you became so lucky to find yourself living in one of Europe's most metropolitan cities.

How does the cost of living in Italy compare to home?
It is way more expensive to live in Europe than it is to live where I was living in the US. But, if you compare it to a similar city, like New York, it's probably not that different. Overall, you get a lot less in terms of living space here than you might be used to in the US.

View from our agriturismo in Tuscany
View from our agriturismo in Tuscany
What negatives, if any, are there to living in Italy?
Living in Italy means negotiating Italian bureaucracy. The "way" of doing things seems so backwards at times, but you just muddle through. It's definitely not designed for the faint of heart.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to Italy, what would it be?
Know that it will be different. If you're moving hoping to find all the same comforts as at home...just stay home. Things will be difficult, annoying, and frustrating. You must learn to deal with them if you want to also experience the moments of happiness that will come along.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
At the beginning, getting quality Internet and phone service was difficult. I couldn't use the Internet as much as I wanted so it limited my connection with those at home. It got much better the second year once I had established myself and knew how things worked a little better.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
I do intend to go home eventually, but I don't know when. As a teacher, I'm not sure what the future holds for teaching in the US. The international teaching system is one that is generally less restrictive than a US school trying to keep up with a barrage of standardized tests.

Summer trip to Edinburgh with my mom
Summer trip to Edinburgh with my mom
What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Be patient.
  2. Try to respect the cultural norms of your new society.
  3. Learn the language. There's no better way to fit in.
  4. Let go. If something is bothering you, find a way to let it go. It will make your experience better.
  5. Go for it!

Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
I write about the things I experience in my life here. Maybe it's travel to another country or maybe it's a cooking class. I'm always looking for things that I think others might find interesting.

About the author

Expat Blog ListingCarrie is an American expat living in Italy. Blog description: I blog about my life in Milan working as a teacher in an international school and the travel I'm able do while living in Europe.
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Comments » There is 1 comment

Marysia @ My Travel Affairs wrote 6 years ago:

Great interview! I would love to live in Italy, but i'm afraid that I would gain many many kg eating all this delicious food :)

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