In the spring of junior year, I had the opportunity to participate in a cultural exchange with a high school from Calabria, Italy. This two week stay in Italy confirmed that I want to continue my Italian studies at the college level. I had a student my age stay with my family for two weeks. We showed her the “American” things she had heard so much about, like fast food and gigantic malls.
It was so interesting to see the things in America that we take for granted that absolutely amazed her, and the parts of our culture that horrified her, such as our fast paced and overbooked lifestyle. She refused to shower until she had at least a half hour to enjoy her homemade cappuccino!
A week after she returned home my class flew out to spend two weeks with our host families. I learned so much about Italian and European culture and also greatly improved my Italian. Traveling was quite a hassle, sleeping on a plane for eight hours is nearly impossible. It was incredible to see how different their society is compared to American ways. I had never eaten a salad after the main course before or tried dried meats and fresh peas, which turned out to be very tasty! Everything is much more laid back and less technology driven.
The worst part of the trip was definitely leaving. Trying to pack ten pounds of dried pasta and three containers of Nutella while simultaneously attempting to thank an amazing host family for the best two weeks of your life in a foreign language can get very emotional. I loved spending time in Italy and now have a foreign friend for life with whom I speak daily. I learned so much can not wait to continue my Italian education.
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