Thoughts from an exchange student

Written by Paige Oschwald

Have you ever wondered what student life is like outside the United States? Over the past years, Springfield High has had the opportunity to host foreign exchange students from all over the globe. This year, the school welcomed students from Italy, including one such Italian, Giorgia Greggio. To find out a little bit more about Italian life, Giorgia graciously accepted questioning and an interview was conducted. Giorgia answered the following: 

  1. Where are you from? How long will you be staying in the United States? 
    1. “I come from a small town in the North of Italy and I’m staying here for the full school year, until the end of May.” 
  2. What are the biggest differences between the United States and Italy? 
    1. “The biggest differences are for sure school, people and community in general. The atmosphere is so different.” 
  3. What is one goofy thing you have experienced unique to the United States? 
    1. “The most goofy thing I’ve experiences is the football game. Since I’ve never been to one before school here, it was really strange. It is also one of the best experiences I’ve ever done.” 
  4. What is your favorite subject in America so far? Why? 
    1. “My favorite subject here so far is sociology with Mr. Wharton. I’ve always been fascinated by society. I took the chance here to try it, and I love it.” 
  5. What is your least favorite subject? Why? 
    1. “My least favorite class here so far is American Government. The reason is that it’s really complicated and sometimes things don’t really make sense to me. But I’m glad I have Mr. Meyers as a teacher, because he makes it fun and is always open to explain everything again.” 
  6. How many languages do you speak? What are they? 
    1. “I actually speak four languages, some better than others. I speak Italian, English, German and Spanish.” 
  7. What is your favorite place you have visited in the United States? 
    1. Illinois State Capitol (since the exchange year). 
    2. New York (ever). 
  8. Have you ever been to the U.S. prior to your exchange year? 
    1. “Yes. I’ve been in the USA twice before this exchange year: once in New York and once in Los Angeles.” 
  9. Have you run into any language barriers since staying here? 
    1. “Yes. The most difficult language barrier I’ve run into is understanding some slang, abbreviations and words I’ve never heard. An example can be “supper.” I’ve understood it means dinner; after hearing a conversation it was easy to understand the meaning without knowing the word.”
  10. What is your opinion of the food here? 
    1. “Actually, I’ve always loved typical American food and I’m happy to try different ones while I’m here. Even your American versions of other food are actually better than what I expected. Surely, it is different from what I’m used to, but it is good.” 
  11. What is school like in Italy? How does Italian school differ from an American education? 
    1. “Italian school is a lot more difficult than American school, in my opinion. They differ in many ways. The biggest differences are: in Italy teachers change classrooms every hour, while students belong to a class every year and they never change. Italian high school lasts for five years. In Italy, there are different types of high school, depending on the level of actual studying. They offer different courses and subjects in order to prepare the student to be ready for a specific university with a more focused preparation on certain subjects. When students are choosing a high school, they should already have an idea of what to do after, in order to choose the best preparation. This ends in choosing a school with certain subjects already included and the student doesn’t decide them.” 
  12. Do you participate in any sports here? How do sports here differ from Italian sports? 
    1. “Yes, here I’ve just finished the girls’ tennis season and it doesn’t really differ a lot from Italy. The only difference with sports is they’re not connected to the school, because schools don’t offer extracurricular activities. If you want to participate in a sport, you must go to private clubs or teams.” 
  13. Would you consider returning to the United States when your exchange year is over? 
    1. “For sure! I’m already in love with Springfield because I believe it is a different American reality and the lovely people I’ve met so far.” 
  14. Would you recommend the exchange program to other students? 
    1. “Yes, for sure! An exchange year is the best thing I’ve ever chosen to do in my life.”

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