Monday, October 4

4. Ottobre. 2010 “Uno Mese"

I remember when I found out that I would be going to Italy for my exchange year, it didn’t seem true or even possible.  The year went by and through the orientations and the other students leaving, it didn’t seem possible.  Even on the ride up to the airport I remember feeling like a dog on the way to the vet because none of it felt real and I felt completely unaware of the reality of what I was doing.  I wrote in my journal at the MSP airport, “This is it.” We had all been expecting that moment and preparing for it for months but I still had to remind myself that it was actually happening.  Now one month has gone by, I’ve made some friends, started some activities, picked up basic Italian and even now I forget the reality of what I’m doing. I have to remind myself, almost everyday: This is my Rotary Exchange year, right now. It’s so weird because we just built it up so much and I just can’t believe this is it.  Like I said in my previous blogs I am working very hard to seize the day and take advantage of every moment I have here.  For this blog I’d like to share a couple of things I’ve learned, about Rotary and Italy, over my first month here.

  1. I’ve discovered that while a Rotary Exchange year is about learning about a new culture and a completely different way of life, I have discovered more new things about myself than things about Italy.  I can already tell that this year is going to be such a time of self reflection and maturity for me, I already feel like I know myself better than I did before I come. And I’m so excited to learn even more and reflect on those realizations. Sometime later I’ll share some of my personal discoveries.
  2. The Rotary Club here in Italy (or at least my district) is very, very different from ours back home.  The main difference, for me, is that in our whole district is only ten students!  Going from the seventeen students in Northfield alone to the ten in my district here has been very interesting.  Another thing is we’re all Americans! This was really disappointing for me I was really looking forward to meeting more people from other countries and seeing how they assimilate to the Italian culture. However other than that the other kids are always really nice and I’m excited to get to know them even better.
  3. Another difference between the Rotary Club here and back home is that here the Rotary Adults are a lot less present in my life.  WE had our orientation day yesterday, which was the first real Rotary event I’ve had during my time here. I was expecting a day with talks and rules and pamphlets but instead we eneded up traveling to this lake and just walking around, eating and shopping.  We thought about the 4 D’s for maybe about 5 minutes but that was all. While it was fun and most people would’ve preferred that, I’m the kind of girl who likes getting information so it was a little disappointing.  However, every Rotary person I’ve met so far has been incredibly welcoming and enthusiastic and their excitement for Rotary makes me so much more excited!
  1. Language: I love the Italian language and I’m so excited to get better and it!  I love when people yell or get upset…not at me though.  I know it’s kind of stereotypical and sorry to my Italian friends who are reading this but it’s TRUE! ;) There are so many vowel sounds and it can get so loud so all of the words just kind of blend together and it’s just so hard to understand but it sounds so cool.  It sounds so strong with still being so beautiful.  I’m very excited to yell at people in Italian when I get home.
  2. Affection: The people here are so incredibly affectionate here, I love it.  Being an exchange student can get pretty lonely, especially for someone like me that needs hugging or cuddling a little bit more than a normal person. But everyone here is so affectionate and it helps so much.  I love the tradition of kissing cheeks whenever you greet someone or say goodbye.  Girls are always hugging me or linking arms with me and it’s stuff like that I just love about this culture and I appreciate so much.  To me it shows how open and welcoming they all are about everything.
I think that staying busy is necessary during this process so I’ve been trying to find some activities for myself after school. I’m starting to get involved in track & field, singing activities, observing the practices of a theater production of the Hunchback of Notredam, and I’m loving the friends I’ve been making at school! I still get weird feelings when I think about staying here for 8 more months and I miss my life back home so much.  But everyday I get a little more accustomed here, and I’m starting to believe the reality of it more and more.  It’s a difficult process but I’m in love with the Italian culture and the Italian people.  I really appreciate reading peoples comments so comment away or email me!
Ciao <3


  1. Ciao Stina!
    i love reading your blog. i've written to you some weeks ago, but i haven't received a respond. actually, i don't know if you got my email.. i'd like to be in touch with you. probably i could email you again.. is it ok? baci

  2. A young lady from my hometown is in Cremona as a Rotary exchange student. I hope she doesn't stray too far away from the 4D rules, hahah!