Moving from Italy to Russia

Hello, everyone! My name’s Nora and I’m from Rome, Italy and I’m going to tell you why I’ve decided to move to Russia.

Love at first sight

I first moved to St. Petersburg in 2015 to spend a semester at SPBGU and I fell in love with Russia. After getting back to Italy and finishing my studies, I started to look for jobs in Russia and moved to Moscow in the summer of 2016 to teach English and never left.

My fascination with Russia was mainly linguistic at the beginning. I was studying Russian at university and decided to move here to improve it. Two years later, I’m still here. My Russian has drastically improved but I don’t want to leave just yet.

The first impression

I first moved to St. Petersburg mid-February so my first (unoriginal) impression of Russia was…damn, it’s cold! I got used to the climate straight away so it doesn’t really bother me now but it was difficult at first, especially coming from a warmer country. You never forget your first Russian winter!

Russia v.s. Italy

After quite some time in Russia, I can safely say that there aren’t that many differences between Russians and Italians in terms of character. We both share the same core values: friendliness. hospitality, stoic patience with nightmarish bureaucracy, love for arts and good food. Even if most Russians seem so unapproachable when you first meet them, it’s so easy to get past that and discover the truth behind the stereotypes.

My culture shock

I have a lot of male friends in Russia and I realized that most of them have a much more traditional approach to gender roles compared to my European or American friends. Honestly, this was one of the biggest ‘culture shocks’ I had when I started to live here. Thinking about the first time I went out for drinks with a male colleague and he insisted for paying for me because “you are a woman so I have to pay for you” still kinda bothers me.

The habit I would bring to Italy

Definitely the wonderful habit of taking off your shoes before entering the house. The whole world should start doing that too. Also, smiley faces with no eyes. Amazing, they save you lots of time while typing.

Russian music

I love classic rock bands like Kino, DDT, Grazhdaskaya Oborona, Krematorij, Mashina Vremeni. Their music helped me a lot while I first started to study Russian. I also enjoy more modern bands like Leningrad or Plan Lomonosova.

About the food

Borscht is my favorite dish. That’s the kind of food your soul needs.

“Don’t stop me now…”

I can’t shut up about Russia when I go back home. My friends are probably too nice to tell me but I’m sure I get almost annoying while talking about Russia non-stop. All my friends now know about that time when a policeman knocked at my door to check my papers and ended up inviting himself for tea or when I tried to get dinner after 10 pm in this small town on the shores of Lake Baikal and got laughed at because “it’s not Moscow, lady”.