The most unexpected cultural experience that I really enjoyed was with dinner. Each lunch and dinner at restaurants were served in multiple courses. This began with the appetizer aka “Antipasto” (usually consisting of bread and olive oil if it is not included on the house). The waiters and waitresses provide just enough time for the appetizer to allow the conversation to flow and a sense of hunger for the next portion when the bread runs out finally. It is customary to sip wine at dinner in Italy, not in the way people typically would consider drinking wine, but to enhance the flavor profile of the food. The first course called “Primo” tends to be a pasta dish, depending on what you order. The table is given a very long time, sometimes up to 45 minutes to eat this dish. Our primos are in the picture along with a beautiful overlook of Cortona. The second and final course called “Secondi Piatti” would be the meat that is typically served in a slightly larger portion than the pasta dish and you are given until the restaurant closes to finish eating. The table set up is also quite different than the United States. A reservation for a table in Italy may start at varying times, but the table is reserved for you until the restaurant closes. The servers will never prepare the check or ask if you are ready for the check as it is considered extremely rude and impolite for a waiter or waitress to rush a guest out of their restaurant. Whenever you are ready to leave the restaurant, you must flag down the server and ask for the check every time. I really enjoyed the drawn-out dinners as they provide a relaxed event for people to socialize and talk about anything that could be on their mind. They are also a nice way to end a day of hard work (or studying in our case) with a way to socialize while also enjoying a meal.