Developing Cultural Awareness through Student Exchange!

In the Spring we were excited to bring on our first Italian student, Flavio, to our new and growing program. It has certainly been an overwhelmingly positive experience for both Flavio and his Host family, and we know that they are sad to see him leave in the next few weeks. At the heart of our program, we’re not only looking to connect students, families, and communities across international lines, but to also create a sense of cultural awareness that gives participants of our Student Exchange Programs a more broad and diverse world view. Flavio came to Boston in 2015, and with his program completion date fast approaching we’ve learned quite a bit from him and his experiences in the US.

Our Local Coordinator in Rhode Island, Madeleine, told us how Flavio joked to her by saying that he feels “way more American than Italian now.” He even went so far to say that he thinks he will have a hard time speaking Italian when he returns! We could tell that Flavio had really made the most out of his experience as he immediately dived into extra curricular activities like Lacrosse and other after school programs. Madeleine also told us that Flavio expressed to her how much he now enjoys “Starbucks’ iced coffee, which is new to him, Wendy’s, American football, and lacrosse. He even said he is so sad to not be staying the rest of the year because he will miss the football season here!”

Flavio respectfully shared a deeper meaning that he took away from the student exchange program, talking about how he believes that through this program he now has a better understanding of cultural awareness, especially towards the refugees that are entering Europe, which he claims he once disliked, but now says “they are in search of exactly what I have been in search of in the United States, which is education and opportunity, so I am more accepting towards them.” Flavio’s experience was what sounded like a roller coaster ride of new experiences, opportunities, learning curves, and cultural awareness on a grand scale. He is just one of the many students that’s now apart of our SAE family, we’d love to bring you on board and share all of our amazing students with you!

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