A Visit by Students From the Liceo Giordano Bruno of Rome.
SMATCH sponsored an exchange visit of high school students involving Rome'sLiceo Giordano Bruno and students from Montgomery Blair High School, in Silver Spring, Maryland.
The Italian students were guests of American families from 27 October to 9 November 2010; students from Blair expect to visit Rome in Spring 2011. Here are the answers of the Italian students to five questions which summarize their two-week visit.
First question: "How comfortable were you in your new family?" -
The response is nearly unanimous: "very comfortable, they were very affable and hospitable". Although a few point to communication difficulties due to language, others talk of true fondness, of being "adopted" by a new family, even to the point that they already miss that traditional "good night kiss."
Second question: "What did you like about the America that you got to know?"
The answers vary greatly. Some refer to "the organization of the city of Washington", to "the presence of green areas with trees and well-kept parks", to the "squirrels present in all gardens and parks", to the "large two-story houses immersed in the green", others to the "friendliness and openness of the people" and their tendency to "not give hurried and superficial opinion about others". Many of the students appreciated this dive into "the American lifestyle", and some have pointed out resolutely, "the school system".
Third question: "What is the most beautiful thing that you saw or did in these fifteen days?"
Among the museums visited there's one in particular that was most appreciated: the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Some of the kids pointed out the student-life aspects of their adventure in the USA: the "opportunity of having known kids our age with whom we passed the days, learning their way of life and comparing it with ours", and finally the visit to the University of Maryland-College Park.
Fourth question: "you have been in touch with a school system different from yours. In your opinion, what are its positive and negative points."
In the opinion of the students, the positive aspects are, above-all, tied to the physical structure of the school: the spaces, the classrooms, the high technology, but all point out to the negative aspects, referring to the teaching methods. For them it is not a positive thing to have separate classes for the more capable and less capable students, to have to change classroom continuously for different courses, and they criticize a certain "laxity" since "the teacher is not able to concentrate on his students." In conclusion, for the students of the Giordano Bruno, "the school system in America is much more organized than ours, but it requires less preparation on the part of the students. Ours is more formative". Nevertheless, for some, in the States "the students have more freedom and therefore are more stimulated to study". Finally, an advantage of the American school system over the Italian is the possibility of doing sports with continuity and even at competition levels.
Fifth question: "What was the easiest subject to talk about with the boys (or girls) you met?"
The most common answer was "about the differences between American and Italian teenagers and the different life styles". But many of the kids ventured to talk "about ourselves, describing our experiences." Finally, even if there were difficulties of communication due to language, there were enough discussions about music, movies, sports, and politics.