Written by: Kate Pawlowski
Major: Art History
Location: Florence, Italy
Have you done laundry abroad? Are washers and dryers similar to the ones we operate in the U.S.? 5. What are grocery stores like abroad? Is the food fresher and/or packaged differently? What kinds of staple foods does your host family regularly buy? Or, if you don't live with a host family, what are you stocking your new apartment with?
Grocery shopping and laundry isn’t completely different from the U.S., however, there was a learning curve when it came to figuring out how to navigate within stores and drying clothes. There are slight differences that seem smaller now but when in the moment they were a bit of a challenge to overcome.
When I first arrived in Florence, I expected finding grocery stores not to be as difficult as it was. My roommates and I spent the first few days to find one near by in order to get the necessities for our apartment. Once we went through orientation and were given recommendations from people who had been in Florence for years it was a bit simpler. The two main grocery type stores here in Florence are Conad and Carrefour Express. Conad tends to have more fresh produce and selection of foods. Many have a small bakery and butcher type area inside for bread, meat, fish, and cheeses. I was surprised as how much more selections they seem to have of all types of foods. A few interesting things is that in Italy, it is requested that you wear a plastic glove when selecting your fresh fruit or veggies and you weigh and price them yourself at small stations around the store. I have also noticed that in grocery stores and other markets, you are charged for bags, so it is best to bring your own or buy a reusable bag in the store.
Laundry isn’t much different either besides the fact that many households don’t have dryers. Electricity in Italy is expensive since all the resources for it is imported, meaning it’s use is rather limited with heating only allowed 8 hours a day and the rare appearance of dryers. The apartment I am in comes with a clothesline that hangs outside our window. I usually tend to do laundry in the morning and hang it up and by the end of the day it is dry and smelling a lot cleaner than it has after a dryer. Using a clothesline instead of a dryer has made me feel a lot more energy efficient compared to at home with the constant use of electronics
Categories: Italy, Laundry, Food