Living abroad can be extremely rewarding as well as completely stressful. My first overseas assignment was while I was stationed in Naples, Italy. I had traveled overseas before this, but nothing prepared me for actually living in Italy. People from the United States can be very service oriented and sometimes have higher expectations of how services should be rendered when doing simple tasks such as going out to eat, shopping or Just asking for simple directions when we are lost.
After y first few days in Naples this was going to be a massive culture shock! I grew up in the city that doesn’t sleep, New York. Some argue that New Yorker’s are rude and demanding people, while others will say they are the best in the world. People in New York have grown to accept that life is sometimes very frantic and chaotic. That being said customer service is usually more in tune towards customer satisfaction and people have a much higher demand for quality service in the end.
When we arrived in Naples my wife was in culture shock more than myself as I will never roger the words that came out of her mouth “This is Europe, it’s more of a third world than Brazil”. I told her to calm down and it would all be fine. We were soon whisked away by our sponsor and driven to our hotel which felt like driving on a race track thru very narrow streets. Where ever there was open space either a car or a moped moved to quickly fill the gap. Then upon arriving at our hotel, the Hotel receptionist was on the phone and she was having a very animated argument.
When it was our turn, I asked if everything was k, the receptionist smiled and said “of course, and old me that in Naples people can be very energetic when speaking with their colleagues”. Shortly after I arrived, I was pretty sure that I was going to hate it because nothing happened nearly as fast as the United States. For example, customer service in restaurants and traveling locally was a difficult task. However, I quickly adjusted and accepted the challenge of living in a new foreign home. After living in Naples for some time, I fell in love with the European lifestyle and so much had changed in my life since moving to Europe.
It opened my eyes to different cultures and new respects for the ways Italians enjoyed life so care freely, I did my best attempt to learn to the language too. I felt so lucky to experience Italy like most Americans don’t get the chance too. As an American, I had adapted to my new home in Naples, I made Italian friends and never wanted to do what the average American tourist wanted to do on their typical Italian holiday. This eye opening experience had changed my life and opened my heart to accept all cultures of world.