Students may have noticed a few new faces in the halls yesterday. Consisting of 16 exchange students from Termini Imerese, the 2015 Italian exchange program kicked off on Wednesday, November 18 and will conclude on November 30.
The welcome reception took place in the cafeteria, allowing the foreigners to mingle with EG students and meet a few teachers. Foreign languages teachers, with the help of the Sister Cities program have been planning different events for months now.
“We’ll have the kids go downtown. They’ll go to Coach’s Corner,” Italian language teacher Ralph Scalise said. “In the past we’ve done stuff like bowling at Elk Grove Bowl. Supposedly, they’ll even be making an app [for iPads]”
One of the main reasons for the exchange students coming at this time of year is Thanksgiving. In Italy, there is no Thanksgiving celebration, so the exchange students are brought for that cultural enrichment expirience.
The process for becoming a part of the program is fairly simple, but rather extensive. Senior Maddie Pignato reflected on her experience applying for the program and being paired with her exchange student, Erica Lucia Callari.
“They take applicants and interview every applicant,” Pignato said. “Then after the interviews they select who they think is most fitted for the exchange.”
Sister Cities representatives would ask questions about each applicant’s interests, and language background. They would also check out their houses to make sure their’s a safe environment. A similar process happened in Italy with the Italian students.
Communication has been consistent over the past few months between the students through Facebook and Skype, so they could get to know each other before actually meeting.
“We [talked] every day on an app called Whatsapp, and we also have a group chat of all of the exchange participants,” Pignato said.
Since the Italian exchange students are spending several days in school with their hosts, one of the main things the language department has been working on is involvment of the Italians in classes.
“They won’t just be shadowing their students. They’ll be invited to classes where they’ll do hands on kinds of stuff. They’ll visit the Italian classes as well,” Scalise said. “They’ll have quite a bit of interaction.”