High School - Italy, High School Abroad

An Unexpected Piece of Home, in Italy

by Courtney Bettin, CCI Greenheart Travel High School Student in Italy

I’m finally beginning to feel like a true Italian. I know the perfect time to get up for school while allowing maximum sleep time, the best place to stop for coffee, how to cross the street safely, and that only skinny jeans are allowed out of the house. I even crave Napoleon Margarita pizza in the middle of the night.

Last weekend was San Sebastiano day so I went with Avery and a friend from school to see a play. It was in Italian, obviously, so I didn’t pick up a lot of it but it was funny anyways and the actors were fantastic. As we drove home you could see rows and rows of little stalls down the streets of the town all lit up by light bulbs hanging down from the awnings. It was beautiful.

Yesterday, Alessandra took me out for my first Italian coffee. The cups are so small they look like they belong to a child’s tea set and I felt like a giant holding it, but it’s no wonder the cups are that small, the coffee is so strong! It’s delicious, everything here is, but it’s very distinct.

Last week I was sick so I didn’t get back to school until today and Mr.Guarnaccia’s asked me to put together a spelling bee for his students. I was also introduced to an English teacher from England who will be teaching a couple days a week for the next little while. She’s really nice and I’ve agreed to help out with one of her lessons about education and the difference between European and Canadian school systems.

This weekend for the first time since I got here I found myself truly bored. My host sisters were both out, it was too early to talk to anyone from home and Avery was busy. When you’re going to go on an exchange you have to try and prepare yourself for everything both packing wise and emotionally. I had prepared myself for the homesickness, although tough at times, I prepared myself for culture shock, I even prepared myself for the possibility that I wouldn’t get along with my host family, or that I would get along too well and wouldn’t want to come home. I was completely ready to come here and BECOME Italian. To participate in whatever unusual activity they asked, try whatever strange looking food they offered and laugh at myself when I can’t pronounce that one word correctly. The last thing on my mind was that I might be bored at some point. And, as weird as it sounds, it was a comforting feeling. I may be thousands of miles away from home, with no family or friends, in a country famous for it’s dazzling colors and awe-inspiring landmarks, but I can still get bored.


About Greenheart Travel

CCI Greenheart Travel is personally invested in providing cultural immersion programs that change lives, advance careers and create leaders. We achieve this by partnering with organizations and governments overseas that empower their local communities through experiential learning and practical development. We provide others with the same positive travel experiences in which we ourselves engage. Through travel and cultural exchange, we help individuals reach their full potential, leading to a more tolerant, peaceful and environmentally sustainable world.



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