LIFE/Kamillah Smith: America vs Italian Cafes


I have quickly picked up on the difference in eating habits between America and Italy. Upon coming here, my first realization in the difference in eating habits was walking into a bar, or in America we would say cafe. Usually in America there is a line at a local cafe. Each person orders what they want, pays for it and stands and waits for it to be made. This is a very quick process; as American culture is very faced paced. On the other hand, in Italy, there are is not much of a clear line upon walking into a cafe. One just tells the waiter they want and sits down and waits for it to be made. When made, the waiter usually, at least in my experience, gives me my pastry on a plate and expects that I will be eating there. From observations, I see many locals eat their breakfast inside the cafe instead of getting it to go. Usually I have to tell them when ordering that I want it to go. This is opposite from America. Another interesting observation is that coffees are usually drunk from the cafe counter. In America, coffees are usually carried outside the cafe and occasionally if one has the time, drunk from a seat inside the cafe. Paying for your meal in a cafe comes last which, again, is different from America. In America, one pays for their meal upon ordering. This way of paying makes me think that Italian culture is more trusting of their customers than US culture. There is more of a personalized relationship between the waiter and the customer as well. I have noticed that many locals frequent the same cafes and chat with the waiter for a couple minutes. This certainly builds a trust between the waiter and the customer. The main difference I can see between US culture and Italian culture is that Italian culture is a lot more slow paced than the US which explains the trusting and personalized relationship and sitting down for ones meal.

Ciao! Mi chiamo Kamillah. I am studying at Universita della Tuscia this semester in Viterbo, Italy. I am from Northampton, Massachusetts in the United States. I go to school at Goucher College in Maryland. I am studying sociology. I am not sure what I would like to do with my career at the moment. Possibly, I would like to go into real estate or international relations. This year is my final year in school. I also run track and field at my college. I have been running on a team for 8 years and I really enjoy it. I run the 100 meter, 200 meter and 4 by 1 relay. I chose to go to Viterbo Italy for a couple reasons. I am very interested in how different cultures interact with each other, whether its cultural or political comparisons. Italy has a very interesting history with the United states as there have been years where Italy and United States have been very distance and periods where both countries influenced each other very much. The Usac program in Viterbo offers classes where I am able to closely study this relationship. Viterbo is also a smaller,authentic city as compared to Turin or Rome. I felt like Viterbo would give me more of an Italian feel and I would be able to observe the Italian way of life better. (Which is true) So far, I am really enjoying living in Viterbo.