Big City American Girl Meets Small Town Bosconero

Big City American Girl Meets Small Town Bosconero


As I pack my bag to travel to Milan for the weekend, I can’t help but to feel proud. It’s been a week since I’ve arrived in Italy and so far I’ve adapted to living in a small town (much smaller than New York and even smaller than Wilmington), I’ve finally combatted jet lag, I’ve found a place that sells the most amazing Nutella crepes, I’ve improved my Italian, I’ve developed a close relationship with my host family and their friends, and more importantly, I’ve gained the trust and approval of my students after just a week of co-teaching.

Since San Benigno is a very small town, Marilena and I have to travel to the neighboring town of Bosconero to teach. I’ve had prior experience working with middle school aged students, but there wasn’t a language barrier blocking my ability to communicate with them, so this concerned me going into this experience.

Monday was my first day and within moments any concerns I had were pushed completely out of my head! Immediately the students and teachers embraced my arrival with a surprise welcome party. It was clear that everyone played a part in putting together this heartwarming event. Students hand made a welcome banner, baked cupcakes and cookies, and brought in beverages.

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A few students performed the Star-Spangled Banner and another piece (I can’t remember the name) with their instruments, and a group of students performed a song that they composed THEMSELVES to welcome me to Bosconero.


And to top, it off they gave me roses and a hand made card that they all signed!

It was extremely amazing and overwhelming. I couldn’t have asked for a better welcoming.

As the week continued I felt like a celebrity because the students were all so curious about me! They were always rushing to greet me, they always asked me questions about myself and about America, and many of them even asked me to sign the postcards that I brought for them from New York.

The majority of the students have a decent background in English, and surprisingly they weren’t too shy to speak to me (wish I could say the same about myself when I speak to others in Italian haha). What amazed me the most is that many of them were so eager to learn and take in more knowledge about English and the American culture. This was surprising to me because I feel as if sometimes you have to push American students to be interested in learning something new or to add on to something they already know. This wasn’t the case with ANY of my students. When I corrected their grammar or their pronunciation, or shared the differences between American and British English, or the difference between American and Italian culture, they were very receptive and not one of them roll their eyes or became frustrated.

A major difference between Italian and American schools is the fact that the students don’t switch classes, instead the teachers switch classes. The students actually stay in the same classes until they graduate middle school and then in high school they switch classes, but once again they stay within that same class for the entire 5 years they are in high school. I guess this system has its benefits because it helps to build longer and stronger relationships, but I couldn’t imagine sitting in the same seat all day long!!

Just as the students were very welcoming, the teachers were too. Many of them didn’t speak English, but they still tried to communicate, whether it was in broken English or very slow Italian. The history teacher, who did speak English, asked me to put together a lesson about the Civil War. I will teach the lesson in English, and then she will translate it in Italian. She wanted to do this so that way the students would be able to improve their English by practicing it in other subjects that interest them.

I also had the pleasure of meeting the Mayor of Bosconero, Fabrizio Pen (his son is actually one of the students that I teach). He was very warm an welcoming. He even gave me an autographed book about Bosconero and took a picture with me.

Now that I am over my jet lag, I hope to explore more of what the region of Piedmont has to offer (like the Nutella factory) after I return from Milan. I also want to make it a point to get to know more of the locals this way I can continue to improve my Italian and also meet with the other WEP volunteers to discuss their experiences and possibly incorporate any positive ones into lessons with my students.

Until next time, ciao!

I tried that nut creme that Antonella gave me and it tasted like Nutella without the chocolate. It was complete heaven in my mouth!

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