Viola Cerretini, originally from Italy, is one of Leesville’s foreign exchange students this year. Cerretini is sixteen years old and is a junior. Her host family is the Namey’s, who have two daughters, ages seven and nine.
Cerretini applied for her host family in March and admitted that she was lucky to know in advance. “Some of my friends were decided in June, July, August,” said Cerretini.
Currently, there are three other foreign exchange students here at Leesville-Sukritta Saenverm, Barbara Stara, Sophia Dragao and Julie Indresand.
Coming to America from Italy wasn’t as hectic as Cerretini thought. The group of students from Italy came to America with a partner. Initially, all of the foreign exchange students went to New York for three days to start orientation. During her time in New York for orientation, Viola became close with other foreign exchange students that came from all over the world. After orientation, her fellow Italian foreign exchange students went to different states of the U.S.
In the short time she’s been here, she has already noticed differences between Italy and America “Some things are different in a bigger way and some things are different in a smaller way. The food is quite similar but the school houses, and the neighbourhood’s are the most different,” said Cerretini.
In Italy, the schooling is slightly different from America. There’s five years of primary school, three years of middle school, and five years of high school. You have the chance to choose which type of high school you would like to attend. There are science, linguistic, classic, philosophy, and art high schools. Cerretini came from a scientific high school before coming to Leesville.
Here in America, most high schoolers change classrooms around 4-8 times a day, while in Italy, students stay in one classroom while the teachers change classes. The roles are reversed while teachers don’t have a specific classroom, and students have one. “It’s better to always have the same people because you can know people in an easy way, and I’m not struggling to know my schoolmates. Here, I don’t really know my classmates that well.”
Even though Viola Cerretini prefers staying in one classroom during school, she likes the teachers here better because they are more helpful than the ones in Italy. “It’s different, but I like it,” said Cerretini.
Overall, Cerretini is still adjusting to different customs here in America. She hopes to experience more of America while she is here and enjoy her time at Leesville.