• Sun. Mar 19th, 2023

New York University student slammed online for essay about ‘hostile’ Italians in Florence

An American university student has penned an opinion piece about hating her semester abroad in Italy – and it has not gone down will with European readers.

Stacia Datskovska, a journalism and international relations major at New York University, published an essay about her time studying abroad in Florence for American media outlet Insider this week.

However, thanks to the internet and social media, the story has made its way across the globe.

In her piece, Ms Datskovska wrote that the experience was nothing like she expected.

She described the locals in Florence as “hostile” and criticised her fellow study abroad roommates for travelling most weekends “only to freshen up their social-media profiles”.

The NYU student said she was often left alone and was “consistently frustrated” that life continued in New York while she felt she was “wasting precious time” in Florence.

“I’m not quite sure whom I resented more during my stay in Italy: my American classmates or the locals,” one line read.

The essay soon went viral on Twitter with Europeans slamming the take on Florence.

“As an Italian, this account rubbed me the wrong way. What she was expecting was rom-com stereotypes and then started ‘protesting’ when her expectations weren’t met, that’s all,” one woman wrote.

“I would call this the Emily in Paris Syndrome, that thing where (especially) American girls arriving in Europe think for some obscure reason that they are becoming the new centre of gravity of our lives,” a second person wrote in Italian.

“An American citizen discovers that Italy is a real place with its problems and not just a film set where everything is as wonderful and perfect as in a film,” another translation said.

“Well, Florence is not the problem I would say,” added a fourth.

A teacher at the University of Florence wrote: “Florence is dominated by tourism so there is almost no chance the mere fact of her being American prompted offence and criticism. I teach at another US study abroad programme in the city and think the account of the other students is likely vastly unfair”.

Other Twitter users criticised the student for not recognising her privilege in getting the opportunity to study abroad.

“This whole piece is positively dripping with middle-class white privilege,” wrote one.

“What a horror to be exposed to other cultures, to travel around Europe cheaply, to have to study without working, to have to share with people with other tastes and interests, and on top of that when you return to New York everyone moved forward without waiting for you,” wrote another with sarcasm.

The line that appeared to shock the most was Ms Datskovska describing her response to “hostile, inconsiderate and preposterous” locals.

“I started to protest by presenting myself to the public in a way I knew they’d hate,” she wrote.

“I started wearing American-brand athleisure, Nike Air Max 97s, and oversize hoodies. The Italians rolled their eyes as I passed them on the street.”

Ms Datskovska finished her recount by stating she was aware her feelings weren’t every college student’s experience.

“Yet I also can’t be the only one who thought studying abroad was a nightmare,” she ended.

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