from October 9 to October 20, 2006 (Phase I)from March 24 to April 1, 2007 (Phase II)

Thanks to the cultural exchange program between the school in Rome and the two Maryland schools, students were able to take advantage of a unique opportunity to experience in direct fashion a reality often known (and deformed) by the media.

The Italian school's Scholastic Director and four teachers accompanied the students, who were hosted by families of students at the two American schools. The value of this experience was both linguistic and social, inasmuch as being immersed in American daily life, in all its diverse aspects, allowed the Italian students to share a valuable experience.

The students took part alongside host students in their various academic activities. After scholastic obligations were out of the way, they were accompanied on visits to historic and artistic sites in the Washington area. In addition, during a visit to the University of Maryland, SMATCH arranged for the students to attend a Commedia dell' Arte theatrical performance.

We contacted the Italian Embassy and Mr. Luigi de Sanctis organized a meeting, providing the students an opportunity to learn something about the life and problems faced by Italian immigrants in the United States.

Both host teachers and students greeted the Italian group warmly and showed themselves ready to deal with any eventuality. This gave the Italian students a feeling of genuinely taking part in American life.

It should be emphasized that the Italian students showed great interest and participated in all programmed activities and took away exceptional memories of their experience -- so much so that some expressed a hope to pursue university studies in America.