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Three Penny Press

The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

13 students spend Thanksgiving abroad

Photo provided by Lizette Lara
American students and their host siblings pose for a selfie at Castello di Santa Severina.

He stares in awe at the orange and green shades of the trees from above and admires their natural beauty. Standing at the top of a mountain in Reggio Calabria overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, junior Luca Rainusso soaks in the city of Reggio Calabria.

In the first trip back to Italy available for all students taking Italian since COVID-19, Rainusso was one of 13 students who visited Italy Nov. 16-28. While there, he ate American foods with an Italian twist, popped into cafes to buy souvenirs and went to Italian school. Rainusso loved Nduja, an Italian fast food chain that sells Nduja, an American-like burger sandwiched between pizza dough.

While there, students from the school of Liceo Telesio in Cosenza and American students took daily excursions to cities Pompeii, Scilla and Reggio Calabria. Some of the smaller cities include Camigliatello, Lago di Ariamacina and Abbazia Gioachimita.

Rainusso’s favorite field trip was to Reggio Calabria, where he saw the island of Sicily.

”We saw the island of Sicily across the water, which I thought was really cool because you think the island is farther away, but it’s actually right there,” Rainusso said.

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Having never been to South Italy, Rainusso said he was pleasantly surprised at the beautiful scenery of Calabria.

Standing at the top of a mountain in Reggio Calabria, the mountainous terrain of Calabria can be seen. (Photo provided by Luca Rainusso)

“I’ve been to North Italy and the South is way different,” Rainusso said. “The South is just a lot prettier, and the sea and the mountains were beautiful.”

Sophomore Ada Arya, who also attended the trip, considered it one of “the best travel experiences.” When she wasn’t attending Italian school in the morning with her host sister, she hung out with her host family, shopped, walked around the city, ate ice cream, drank coffee and hung out with new friends.

“I would definitely do this trip again,” Arya said. “It was so worth it. I basically lived the life of someone across the world, I would have never had that experience had I not gone on this trip.”

Nduja, an Italian fast food chain, sells Nduja which is similar to an American burger. (Photo provided by Luca Rainusso)

Senior Lizette Lara started learning Italian sophomore year, and she has grown to love the language.

“Learning Italian started out as a curiosity, but as I learn more and more, I fall even more in love with the language,” Lara said.

Italian teacher Maria Borsa organized the trip and Daniel Ramirez chaperoned. Borsa is very happy that the Italian exchange trip was brought back this year.

“I tried to do this trip last year but there weren’t enough students,” Borsa said. “There’s a lot of work behind organizing these exchanges, so I couldn’t organize the trip with only four or five students.”

Borsa wanted students to not only gain the ability to immerse themselves into the language, but also learn and experience the culture living like an Italian teen.

The rainy weather in Reggio Calabria doesn’t stop the American students and their host siblings from exploring the city. (Photo provided by Luca Rainusso)

“I want the students to realize that Italian is a real language, and people really speak it in their daily life,” Borsa said.

Lara was one of those students, learning more of the Italian language with her host family.

“My host family only spoke Italian, which helped me improve my reading comprehension and vocabulary as I interacted with more people,” Lara said.

Borsa hopes to continue this trip next year.

“I truly love this trip,” Borsa said. “It’s an opportunity for my students to experience living in a different country and apply what they learn to interact with others.”

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