Andrea, Seattle

“You will understand the American culture and at the end you will endorse its values. Personally, I got very independent: in Italy I was not used to cleaning my clothes and my room and I had to wisely handle the money sent by my parents. And I got more self-confident: I know I went in a foreign country where I didn’t know anyone and I did.

I slowly realized how much I would have missed if I hadn’t been an Exchange student. My family was very kind and open minded. The religion of my host family was an opportunity to know the Jewish culture.

At the beginning you don’t know anyone but you must be brave and self-confident: you gotta talk as much as possible. You gotta show yourself and let them see who truly you are beyond stereotypes. This is extremely important to make new friends. Being Italian helps a lot. I am glad that my brother Alex didn’t go to my same school: even if at the beginning I really had to be outgoing but I am sure that I made all my American friends only because of me, without the help of anyone.

I didn’t expect this but when I came back I had a reverse cultural shock. When I was in Italy before this experience, everything was normal, you know. But really, normal is nothing and even if it sounds a paradox, when I was in the US, I understood better many aspects of the Italian culture. I became much more critical because I know that somewhere else it’s different.

Everything was different at school. You have the liberty and the opportunity of choosing the courses you take.

This means that it’s easier you are gonna like the subject. You feel a strong sense of community: at the very end I was proud of attending Nathan Hale High School. You go to school without being nervous about tests and it’s kind a difficult you are gonna skip school. Teachers seem much more like friends and you can easily argue with them. You will do Socratic seminars in which your opinion will be almost at the same level of the teacher’s one. Generally they are not strict.”


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