Eagles Welcome Italian Exchange Student
December 11, 2015
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Flying all the way from Italy, Ambra Perugini finds herself spending a school year in America as a Jamestown Eagle. Although she will be staying for the entire school year, Perugini will not be graduating with the class of ’16. Instead, she will use the grades she earns at Jamestown toward her school in Italy, where she still has one year to go.
Jamestown allows three exchange students at our school every year to experience life in an American public school. Perugini’s guidance counselor Jennifer Smethurst explained, “Families in the area will express interest in hosting an exchange student … Everything prior to the student actually coming to pick out classes happens in Central Office.” Central Office receives the applications and places the students in the school their host family is districted. Along with Perugini, Valeria Miglio and Chen Chun Hu are also part of our Eagle exchange Program.
In order to be chosen for the program, Perugini had to pass an exam that took place in Rome, where over fifty other applicants would join her. The exam was created to test how well she could speak and comprehend the English language. Once the applicants passed the exam, they then had to complete an interview from the agency that determines where they will be placed.
After arriving in Williamsburg, Perugini signed up to take Physics, Trigonometry, Art Foundations, and English12. “Here you have classes, and every block you change [rooms],” Perugini explained. “In Italy, you stay every time in your class and there [is] a teacher that comes to your class,” she continued. In Italy, the students started school at 8:15 a.m. versus 7:20 a.m., but have to attend school on Saturdays. In addition, they are also allowed to go home for lunch.
In addition to classes, Perugini has become involved in extracurricular activities, like the Chess team, and plans on trying out for track and swim. In Italy, “We have a lot of centers that do activities like sports … We don’t have school teams,” Perugini stated. Where we have school sports and school sponsored clubs, schools in Italy only have activities outside of school.
Thus far, Perugini is enjoying her stay here in Williamsburg, seeing how different our town is compared to Tolentino, Italy. Although there are more vehicles, loud noises, and traffic in Williamsburg, the scenery is similar, giving Perugini a taste of home. After the school year is over, Perugini will travel 4,523 miles back to her home town.