Amanda Knox is an American student who is currently on trial for murder in Italy. This Seattle native’s story has been a top news headline in the U.S. for months now. From the gruesome details of the victim’s death (Meredith Kercher) to the sexual relationship between herself and ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, we’ve heard it all. Yet, what we haven’t really heard are the lessons. These lessons are ones Amanda Knox’s current saga can teach any American who is living abroad.
Lesson #1: Retain a local attorney.
If you plan on living abroad for more than 3 months, retain a local attorney. This professional should be a competent one who can help you out of a jam. If Amanda Knox had a local Italian attorney, as soon as the police ascended on the scene, he could have stepped in to help her. He also could have attacked the unsavory headlines that quickly followed turning (Italian) public opinion against her.
Lesson #2: Keep ties with other Americans.
When living abroad, it’s important to befriend someone who speaks your language. This person can let you know about local customs, places to avoid and who to watch out for. Another American could have done this for Amanda Knox. If you noticed, all of the key people in her life in Italy were foreigners. At the end of the day, their cultures clashed leaving her in a fix and facing charges for murder.
Lesson #3: Develop relationships with locals slowly.
Forget about all of those fantasies about the foreign lover who treats you better than any American man or woman ever could. This is a stereotype that can backfire on you. Foreigners are just like us – some are good people and others are bad ones. So develop relationships slowly and really get to know a person before you start sharing your bed and life with them. Amanda Knox barely knew her boyfriend Raffaele before they’d started sharing their bodies and lives together. His alleged part in the murder is still under scrutiny. Maybe he was the kind of guy she’d never have been with if she’d taken 30 days to get to know him.
Lesson #4: Be aware of American stereotypes.
It’s a sad reality, but part of what may convict Amanda Knox is American stereotypes that Italians hold dear to their heart. One of them is that we are sexually free, self-centered and overly indulgent. An Italian might find it easy to believe a silly self-absorbed American could commit murder. As a result, it’s important that any American living abroad learns and understands a few of the stereotypes held about them. This understanding can help you act in a way that will help you avoid trouble. It can include a more conservative dress or awareness of the seriousness of a situation gone wrong.
Lesson #5: Don’t ingest illegal substances.
Prior to the murder, Amanda Knox admitted to smoking marijuana with her boyfriend. Regardless of how you feel about this activity, you can agree it probably affected her behavior that night as well as her boyfriends. Whether this substance helped them allegedly commit a crime or not be aware that one was being committed under the same roof they were under, it was a factor. So, when overseas, don’t smoke or shoot up anything illegal. It’s not a good idea to do it in American either, but at least you’re at home and know what to expect.
These are just five lessons you can learn from the Amanda Knox story. For continuous updates about it, visit Examiner.com.