Erica Patrignani, junior, is one of the two AFS students hailing from Italy. Patrignani has also lived in Japan, where she was born, and is staying with the Meyers family in Shorewood.
Patrignani said that living in Wisconsin is an adjustment in culture and climate.
“It is too cold for me here. It’s like Italy in November already,” Patrignani said.
However, Patrignani said she is enjoying the U.S. “[In Italy] we didn’t have a lot of parks or the lake we could go to near our home,” Patrignani said.
In Wisconsin, the streets, homes and cars are much larger than in Italy. “In Italy our home is so small,” Patrignani said. “I have a small car in Italy, and here the cars are so much bigger.”
Patrignani said that one aspect she enjoys about America is the coffee shops.
Italian and American schools are also different, especially with scheduling.
“We didn’t change classes every hour; we stayed in the same class all day, and we did not get to pick our classes,” Patrignani said.
Additionally, she and her classmates had shorter school days, but were expected to attend school on Saturdays.
Amelie Meyers, junior, is excited to be Patrignani’s host sister. Meyers had intentions of traveling to Italy through AFS, but her plans fell through.
“Having a host student seemed like the next best thing, and it just happened that she was from Italy … [which] made it even better,” Meyers said. “I went from being the only child in my house for five years to having someone my age again.”
The two new sisters seem to be getting along well, and Patrignani said she enjoys spending time with her host family.
Patrignani swam for 14 years in Italy and plans to join swimming and Copperdome. Patrignani is also taking French, so she will know four languages after this year.
by Monica Dix and Lydia Anshus