From Kagawa to Piacenza: Akiko's Journey of Love, Learning, and Cultural Blends in Italy

There are so many students at our school who, for one reason or another, choose to completely change their lives by moving to Italy. And we are happy, honored and proud to help them in this incredible change.

Today we meet Akiko, a Japanese girl who studied with us for several months between 2019 and 2021 and moved to Italy to follow her heart. In fact, she has now been living in Piacenza for four years with her Italian partner.

We asked her to tell us about herself in a short interview, where she also explained some differences between the two cultures she lives every day: Italian and Japanese culture!

To listen to Akiko tell more anecdotes in person, we also recorded an episode for our podcast ITALIANO ON-AIR! Listen to it here:



Read Akiko interview

Hi! What's your name?

I am Akiko and I have been living in Italy for four years. I come from Japan, I was born on a small island called Shōdoshima. It is an island rich in nature surrounded by a calm sea, famous for its olives because it was the first place in Japan to grow them successfully.

When and why did you start studying Italian?

I started studying Italian four years ago when I came to Italy, and I came to Italy because my partner is Italian.

Did you enjoy your Italian course?

Yes, I am very satisfied. It was a wonderful experience. There were many nationalities in the class: French, Brazilian, American, Chinese, Taiwanese... and there were very few Japanese. Even today I sometimes go out for an aperitif with my old classmates.

It was very difficult for me to learn Italian because Japanese is a very different language. But all the teachers were very good and patient and I was able to learn at my own pace.

What do you think of the city of Milan?

I like Milan because I work in fashion and Milan is *THE* fashion city. All the Milanese always wear beautiful clothes and it's so nice to walk the streets!

Let's talk about your new life: how have you experienced this change?

It was difficult at the beginning because it takes a long time to sort out the documents, to apply for a residence permit and a tax code... But my boyfriend and the school helped me a lot in this, everyone was always so friendly!

Did studying Italian help you to integrate?

Yes, definitely. In Milan, you can survive speaking English if you want, but when you speak Italian, Italians are much more open and friendly.

Can you tell us three differences you have noticed between Italian and Japanese culture?

I think Italians are very good at conversations. Even in class, the teacher always asked us: 'What do you think about this? What do you think about that?" Italians are always open and ready to exchange opinions. In Japan, on the other hand, it's different, the Japanese are much more closed.

When something negative happens, the Italians don't give too much thought to it, they rather think about getting back to having fun. The Japanese, on the other hand, stop and think until they find a solution that satisfies them.

There are also some little rules about food in Italy, and I discovered this very early on: one afternoon I had gone out with a friend of mine and ordered a cappuccino, and my friend immediately asked me: 'Why are you having a cappuccino at this hour?!' He was joking a bit, but that's when I discovered that you absolutely must not have a cappuccino after 11 o'clock!

Akiko also has a podcast: it's called 'Wherever' and talks about trends and current affairs in the 5 countries where the 5 hosts live (Japan, Italy, Singapore, Germany and Portugal). An episode on the Italian language will also be released soon, don't miss it!

Thank you very much Akiko for telling us about your experience!

Read more of our students' experiences here:

Catalina (Chile)

Luis (Germany)

Alaa (Syria)

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Scuola Leonardo da Vinci Milan

Scuola Leonardo da Vinci Milan is located in the city center in “Crocetta” district known for its liveliness, style and culture attractions.

Thanks to its prestigious universities and academies, Milan is the elected place of education for numerous Italian and international students.
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