#VelitaAbroad – Settling Down For A Year In Italy

By: Velita Stamber

Hi! My name is Velita Stamber and I am a 17-year-old exchange student from Indonesia. I am currently enrolled in AFS (American Field Service) program and living in Italy for one year. I live with a magnificent Italian family who welcomes me as their own child. During my second semester here, I will be sharing stories and insight that I encounter during this amazing experience abroad. And this is my first story…

My Italian Family
My Italian Family

To live in another country is an amazing opportunity but has also proven to be a challenge for me. Not because I am now 4,434 kilometers far from my home, Indonesia, but because I need to adapt to their culture and learn to embrace the differences!

I arrived in Mantova, Italy, the land of pizza, on September 7th 2014. I flew from Indonesia to Qatar and then to Italia, which took 16 hours. Yep – I am in a completely different part of the world! The first month was the time for me to settle down. I needed to get used to Italian culture, Italian food, and the Italian language. Everything’s different!! The appearance, the language, the people, and even the time! But this was the amazing part because experiencing all of these cultural differences has already made me much more open-minded!

Now, I will explain what I do and where I live.

I live in the north of Italy. The city is called Castiglione delle Stiviere, Mantova. Here I attend a state school called Istituto Francesco Gonzaga and I’m in the third class of human science. I study biology, psychology, mathematics, physics, and sociology. The first day I got here, I didn’t know ONE word of Italian. But now, 5 months later, I already speak the language fluently! Which I owe a big thanks to my family, my teachers, and also my friends for helping me achieve this goal. Yes – You can really pick up a language that fast!

Friendship! Yeah, I met new friends, and new people here. These are my classmates. They always help me with the language, help me with school projects, and they bringe me to meet new people.  m I feel so lucky that they are very very welcoming. I really glad when they asked me about myself and my country with curiosity.
Friendship!  I met new friends and new people here. These are my classmates. They always help me with the language,  school projects, and they bring me to meet new people.  I feel so lucky that they are very very welcoming. I love when they ask me about myself and my country with curiosity! 

Since everything was so new when I arrived, I didn’t have so much to do when I got here. That made me even more determined to fill my time and I did so by taking Italian courses at school, studying a lot, learning about the Italian culture, and exploring the country. Immersing myself in the Italian culture definitely played a role in how fast I learned the language!

I also have already made one of my travel dreams come true by visiting my favorite city, Verona. It was so awesome and a very beautiful city to see in Italy! I really adore one of Shakespeare’s masterpieces, Romeo and Juliet. So obviously I visited Juliet’s house and her balcony. It was such a cool experience!

In Verona!

Needless to say my first few months in Italy have been very busy. This is just a pinch of my life and experiences so far in Italy and I can’t wait to share more! Make sure to stay tuned for my next post and follow #VelitaAbroad on Twitter!

Tip for High School Students – If you are interested in participating in an exchange program but are a bit hesitant, immediately get rid of any doubt you have! This is a once in a lifetime experience and you will love every minute of it! Don’t be afraid to be thrown to the other part of this world. Just remember, whenever we are, we are gazing the same sky.

Bisogna andare sempre avanti, potresti fare in qualcosa di FANTASTICO, se rimani seduto non lo saprai mai. – “You need to go forward, do fantastic things, if you always stay there, you will never know.”

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