According to Umberto Converti, Shorewood has proven to have many differences from his hometown, Potenza, Italy, ranging from temperature to shoes.
Now living with the Hayes family, Converti recalls hearing about the AFS program through his school in Italy last year, and remembers thinking that an exchange program would be a good start toward his goal of living in the United States and attending college here in the future.
“People came in my school [last year] and talked about [AFS]. My plan was to move to the U.S. as soon as possible to live. AFS [would give] me a good chance to start thinking [about] how America is,” Converti said. “I thought it was going to be good to spend a year in the U.S. in high school so it’d be easier to follow lessons, because I’d be following lessons for one year already.”
Converti, upon coming to Shorewood, also began to take notice of the differences in the education system between here and his home country. In Italy, students go to school on Saturday, but have a lesser amount of classes per day.
“In Italy, we have five lessons everyday, but the lessons are different everyday. In Italy, we go to school on Saturday, but we have five hours [each day], five classes; one hour each [class],” Converti said.
Converti mentioned how one aspect of Shorewood that he likes is the village’s closeness, and the sense of camaraderie between its residents.
“People [are] nice. It’s a close community, and it’s multicultural. Shorewood has many cultures,” he said. “In my town, it’s pretty small, with lots of Italian boys and girls.”
Converti said that this year so far, he has visited Colorado Springs with his host father, as well as joined the high school boys swimming team. He also said that he was surprised to see that people do not always wear shoes in school and also wear sandals, and that students sometimes start sleeping in class.
Converti said his favorite parts of being in Shorewood and having an American experience was something that has risen in popularity among American teenagers over the years, but is not common in Italy. “I like Netflix,” he said.
By Celeste Carroll