What are you doing here?

Disclaimer: Like many Scottish people, I have a tendency to ramble, go on tangents, and take a very long time to reach my point. This blog posts that (and this will probably be the case with all of the subsequent ones). Scroll to Section 2 if you want to cut out the nonsense.

First some pictures of the city

This is a question I've been asked countless times since arriving in Italy and it's one that I'm still not completely comfortable answering.

The question itself is one that can be asked in a number of ways: from people who are just looking for a way to make conversation and who don't really care about the answer; to people struggling to understand why someone would choose to come to southern Italy to pursue a PhD in engineering, it's hardly a typical choice.

Most frequently, however, the person asking the question is another expat (an immigrant under a different name) or international student and it's being asked to determine whether or not you're worth know…