What being an exchange student means

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Hello! I’m Chiara and I am living one of the most beautiful and exiting experiences of my life!
My American life started 5 months ago, August 14th. I arrived here in Palmyra, NY that afternoon and i drove from an orientation camp in Silver Lake where all the exchange students met before  going away with their new families. It was a pretty exiting camp, because, you know, everybody felt the same and we were all exited and scared at the same time!

I remember I was terribly nervous and I couldn’t help it!
Betsy, Dennis, Sophie and Maggie arrived that afternoon and I think we were all very exited and we probably felt weird too…Betsy and Dennis are my host parents and Sophie and Maggie are my little host sisters…two adorable shi tzus, a type of dog!
I spent the first two weeks in Palmyra, and the second week I already started swimming, the sport I would have done for all the fall season! Here in the United States people are crazy about sports! My teacher Achino would be so happy and proud of the kids! haha… It’s amazing and crazy how they feel about sports… they are almost more important than school!
The 3rd week I was here my host family and I left to go for one week to Cape Cod, where Dennis’ parents live. It’s an awesome place and we had so much fun!!! We also went to Connecticut where Dennis’ brother and his family live and I met his two little children who are very cool! It was a fantastic experience!
When we got back from CT I started swimming practice again… For me who had never swum so much it was very hard! Three hours a day with one hour of dry lines which means running, abs and push ups, and two hours of swimming! Unbelievably tiring!
On September 3rd I started school… Oh my gosh, I was so nervous!!!! The school was huge to my eyes and everything seemed different from my Italian school.. I remember the first days I was always lost because here it’s not the teachers that move in the classrooms, but the students have to go to each class at the end of each period. So I let you bet how hard it was for me remembering where each class was located, also because we only have 5 minutes between the periods! At the beginning everything was very hard for me and all the new kids I met seemed were interested not really in me as a girl or a friend, but in how to say swear words in Italian or what was the drinking age in Italy! It was stressful, and I got pretty upset too…You know, I missed all my friends, my family, my costumes, my city! Palmyra it’s a small town where there’s nothing to do!
But in my host family everything was good and so I was very happy when I was home, but not really when I was at school..
The classes are all very easy compared to the ones I take in Italy, but the coolest thing about American school is that they consider it not only as a place to study study study and where the only important thing is homework homework homework! Here school is fun! I really feel I want to go and see my friends, do classes, do practice in sport and just have fun! After a couple of months I started to have real friends interested in me and not in my background as an Italian and now I am so happy and I don’t wanna go back to Italy… I know my family would care and my friends too…but you know, here is really cool!

Now I am in the indoor track team and it’s amazing how it is cool and fun!!! I love it so bad and my friends are awesome! I also do ski club on mondays with a bunch of kids that are more than fun! Naturally it’s not like skiing on the Alps guys, we all know that, but it’s still pretty cool!
I think one of the most important thing to do as an exchange student is to expose yourself to every thing, every experience you can live, live it! I have had the chance to meet two sisters missionaries of the Mormon church, the religion professed my host mom, and now it’s amazing how I look at things differently. They changed my life guys! But I don’t wanna bore you with my religious stuff…you know, it’s a very personal thing! I just wanna make sure you understand that being part of a sport team, a school club or every thing else allow you to make friends and open your mind, it is very good!
This experience really changed me and my points of view on many things… It’s a great experience and I would never change it for anything in the world!!!
I hope to have given you an idea of what being an exchange student means… if not, I’m sorry, probably you should do it and see in person…”

Chiara Broggi (corrispondente dell’UmberTimes da NY – USA)