Many traveling experiences include people like parents, family and friends. In my case, my experience was shared with 17 high school students that I knew through class; none of which were close friends or those I could have pictured having an experience of a life time with. I forgot to mention it was 17 American high school students, there was another 20 students from Verona, Italy that I got to share this experience with. My high school participates in an exchange program with Liceo Niccolo Copernico in Verona, Italy, 20 lucky high school students get picked each year who exemplify respectful behavior and advanced acquisition of the Italian language.
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
After being accepted and hosting these students in our homes, three months flew by and time fast forwarded to sitting on the 90 minute plane from Germany to Verona. The view from the landing was breath-taking enough. There were fields that stretched for miles filled with rows of plants the locals grew and mountains in the distance, I could have turned right around right there and have said I had an experience of a life time. Ten days flew by with 37 students that I learned to love and cherish. Verona became a city I felt as though was my hometown. Words can not even describe the differences and the barriers that separate Italy and America. The sense of community and belonging in a town like Verona is unimaginable. Venice, Verona, Marostica, Bassano, and Soave could have all been towns from a different planet. They were beautiful, breath-taking, unique and ancient; things that are hard to find all in one place in America. Italy seemed like an untouched heaven for ancient ruins and it was hard to imagine the locals thought this was normal. Venice, although, everyone can say “the roads are water,” no one can describe the energy without visiting. Marostica holds medieval charm that can not be described in words along with castles one only can only dream of. World War II came to life while visiting Bassano and Italy's involvement in WWII became all too real. The bullet holes in the old building that bordered the river were real reminders of the changing times. The winery's of Soave could only be described as beauteous. Although the sites were enough to last forever, the best part of the trip were the friendships made over bonding in that beautiful country. I made best friends from across the ocean, friends that could never be torn apart, and friends that can say they are best friends even though we speak two different languages. My trip to Italy was not about experiencing the landscape, it was living, breathing, and being the culture. To say this trip changed my life is an understatement. I learned to change my views on other cultures, to learn and accept them. Ten days in another country may seem too short but it was enough to fall in love. It was enough to say that no matter where life takes me there will always be a spot in my heart for Verona and those who hold a special places for us there.
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