Let’s Go “Andiamo” to Verona, Italy

From visiting the Sistine Chapel to trying new cuisine, the exchange program immersed both Italian and American students into a new culture. 

Crystal Hernandez, Staff Writer

From March 21-30, eleven Hylton students spent their spring break trip in Verona, Italy. Hylton students attended Lavinia Mondin, a private school in Verona, along with their Italian host students. In addition to traveling to Italy, a few Hylton students also had the opportunity to host an Italian student. 

This was a cultural experience for students to learn more about the Italian lifestyle and draw parallels to their own communities. Freshman Victoria Miranda said the experience was enlightening. “I did not know what it was going to be like,” said Miranda.

Although the classroom set up was a little different in Italy, both schools engage students in class discussions and ask students to complete independent work.

Assistant Principal and CISL Coordinator Betsy Campagna said, “I had the opportunity to observe the classes and see teachers using some of the same methods that our teachers use. They gave me some ideas and some things to consider.”

Senior Sonrisa O’Neal said, “I liked how they take verbal tests and if Hylton did that I feel like it would be easier explaining it than circling A, B, or C.”

Just like at Hylton, Lavinia Mondin offers both English and Spanish courses, but all Italian students are expected to learn English.

Students in the program noticed many cultural differences, which broadened their understandings of their own culture along with a new one.  Some Hylton students noted both the Italian and American students’ natural tendency to stick together when in a new environment and out of their familiar territory.  

Miranda noted that the student she hosted, Lorenzo Villa, was a really nice person, but a picky eater.  Lorenzo told her he doesn’t eat vegetables and was disgusted with the school’s lasagna lunch.  Miranda tried to make up for it by taking him to a local Italian restaurant. Villa was still unsatisfied and shared the pasta couldn’t come close to what he was accustomed to at home.

Unlike Villa, pasta wasn’t a staple for Senior Sonrisa O’Neal before her trip to Italy. She said she tried more pasta dishes during her Verona stay than during her whole life.  She wasn’t sure if she’d like the spaghetti alla carbonara but ended up loving it!

From visiting the Sistine Chapel to trying new cuisine, the exchange program immersed both Italian and American students into a new culture.  “I think it was great I got to do this experience most students don’t get to do,” said Miranda.

CISL has been running an exchange program since the early 90’s. Hylton typically hosts students from Spain, Germany, Italy, and France. In return, the host students have the option to stay with their exchange student in their home country during spring break.

CISL students, along with all students studying Italian, received first priority; however, any Hylton student could apply for the Italy exchange program. Students were paired with host families based on the individual preferences they shared in their applications.