Meet a Student

The Voices of International Students Project: Maddalena Noli

Italy

“.... I feel like the American culture, it’s more like you have to survive on your own, like you don’t have your parents. It was like {in Italy}, oh I don’t know how to do this, I’m just going to go to my Mom whereas here {in America} you have to do that.”  

 

Maddalena Noli is a Sophomore who is a Mechanical Engineering major from the coastal town of Savona, Italy. During our interview we discussed how Maddalena immersing herself in American culture made her more independent as well as the differences in attitudes regarding independence in Italy and the United States. As you will see in this story, young adults in Italy still live with their parents and parents tend to do things for their children whereas in the United States, gaining independence as a young adult is seen as a rite of passage.

 

 

“...With my friends in Italy...they still live with their parents, and they still have their Mom cook dinner and make the bed, this was all stuff that I was used to. In the United States, it’s not that you are alone... but you don’t have your parents. So, you have to get used to doing everything on your own. I think it’s a good thing when you graduate college. You gotta live on your own, you gotta have a job. So, it’s your first time in your apartment and going grocery shopping. Because I feel like the American culture, it’s more like you have to survive on your own, like you don’t have your parents. It was like {in Italy}, oh I don’t know how to do this, I’m just going to go to my Mom whereas here {in America} you have to do that. Of course, you have your parents, but you have to do that first {on your own} then if you have no idea then maybe you call your parents.   

.... If I was back in Italy, I would still live with my parents. I would always be like Mom can do you do this; my parents would be doing stuff that I now have to do here. … One of the biggest things {that I did independently} was that I opened a bank account. It’s sounds like such a small thing, but I have a bank account in Italy, but I have never been to the bank. My dad was always the one going to the bank whereas here I had to do that. I had to pay the rent; it was a thing that I never had to do. Those are like small things, but I have never been grocery shopping in Italy. Not even once. And here {in America} I had to do that. So those things, we are so used to doing with our families.” 

 

About the Project and Creator

“The Voices of International Students Project” features UNH students from various countries and academic backgrounds. This is a fall 2021 weekly storytelling project that centers on the voices of international students and their experiences at UNH. This project is intended to not only celebrate and highlight the diversity we have on campus but also to give international students the opportunity to share their unique stories and what they have learned from being international students on campus.  

 

Jennifer Rose is an intern in the UNH Global Education and created “The Voices of International Students Project.” She is currently a Liberal Studies major with a self-designed concentration in Intercultural Studies at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She will be finished with her bachelor's degree in December 2021. Studying abroad in London and Berlin during college exposed her to various cultures and inspired her to do this project.