Ten months in America

Flavio+posses+with+Mary+Catherine+Wells+at+the+Red+Ledger%27s+annual+trip+to+the+Texas+State+Fair.

Courtesy of Mary Catherine Wells' Twitter

Flavio posses with Mary Catherine Wells at the Red Ledger's annual trip to the Texas State Fair.

Flavio Squartini, Contributing Writer

Well, what can I say, time runs away really fast. It seems like yesterday, Sunday, August 17, 2014, after almost 24 hours of travel, at around 11 p.m. that I woke up on my plane and saw the Dallas lights for the first time out of my window. I got out of that plane and met for the first time the Rekieta family, my host family. It was not awkward at all, it was as natural as it could have been: I was ready to start this adventure!

The first month and a half was a period to settle down and take the measures with this new life. The biggest challenge was the language. I came here knowing very little English so I had some difficulties understanding your fast speech and I would talk as little as possible, but after two months I overcame the problem of the language. From there on, everything was easy.

Life this year has been so much different from what I was used to. Living in a big city like Rome and then moving here is a bit of a change. Back home I can go wherever I want to by just walking or using public transportation, but here without a car, you can go nowhere.

The daily routine is really different too. Here, you have practice in the morning before school, then eight hours at school and when you go back home you have a early dinner around seven p.m. and your day is over, with very little free time. In Italy, you’d wake up around seven a.m. to be in school at 8:20 a.m. You’d be out of school at 12 or 1:20 p.m., go have some lunch, and then you’d have the entire evening free, except for a couple of hours of practice if you do any sport. After that, you’d have quite a bit of homework to do (Latin, Greek, Italian, math, English, science, philosophy…), to be done before dinner time (nine p.m.) and after dinner, you’d lay on the couch and watch TV like Americans.

What I really loved about America is the Americans: The United States is the only country in the world with so much variety of ethnicity and culture, and it’s awesome that I can see and learn so many different things in the same state just by moving from one house to another.

To join the exchange program has been the biggest challenge of my life. Leaving my country, where I had everything I could desire, my family, my friends, my girlfriend, but now I can say without any doubt that it has also been the best choice I have ever taken. These ten months that I will never forget changed my life so much. I learned a second language; I grew up and matured, becoming more independent and responsible; I found a new family that from now on I will always consider as part of my own; I made friends that I hope I will keep in touch with for ever and I had experiences that I would have never done if I didn’t decide to take part in this program.