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Taft Welcomes Italian Exchange Student

Garbari+on+far+right+with+fellow+CIEE+students+after+arriving+to+the+U.S.
Garbari on far right with fellow CIEE students after arriving to the U.S.

Garbari on far right with fellow CIEE students after arriving to the U.S.

Garbari on far right with fellow CIEE students after arriving to the U.S.

Juliana Bahena, Reporter

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     Taft has opened its doors for students who wished to study abroad. Foreign exchange student Stefania Garbari has joined Taft High School for the 2017-18 school year from Italy.

     “I learned about study abroad options through my friend back home who did study abroad in Great Britain. My school later had a conference where foreign exchange students tell their stories and shared information about different programs available and I was very open to the idea and worked with my counselor to see what options were best for me,” said Garbari.

     Garbari is currently partnered with the program called Council on Student Travel (CIEE). CIEE is a non profit organization that allows students to go beyond their comfort zones and explore new countries, cultures, customs, and ideas while receiving an education.

     “I’ve always loved the idea of travelling and seeing new places, making memories, meeting new people. After meeting with my counselor and getting involved with a representative at CIEE, my parents and I decided a school year of study abroad was the plan for me,” said Garbari.

     Taking part in study abroad teaches independence and to look at things with an open mind. Being in another country where you don’t know the culture or language could be intimidating but serves as a great learning experience.

     “Everything in America is so much bigger than in Italy. For example the food portions and the size of the cities. Also, the way you interact with people is very different. In Italy, it isn’t common for you to meet with your friends at your house or at the mall, instead you would most likely walk around a much smaller city and find a restaurant to eat at,” said Garbari.

     Stefania has taken it upon herself to join extra curricular activities to get the full American High School experience.

     “I am very grateful to have met the people that I can now call my friends. I joined a dance club [Orchesis] here at Taft and I consider my teammates to be family. They were very accepting and I feel I can be myself around them,” said Garbari.

     Studying abroad is a great way  to interact with people who might not see things the same way, but with an open mind, long term friendships are attainable.

     Although studying abroad has many positives, it is a great challenge to take on at a young age. Being in a place   thousands of miles from home, away from family and friends, and everything that is familiar could get tough at times.

     “Studying in another country that you don’t really know is scary. You miss your family, friends, your country, and food from your country but it really is amazing what you can take from the experience. Everything you learn changes the way you see the world forever. I recommend students take the risk and try to take advantage of study abroad programs,” said Garbari.

     As Garbari continues to attend Taft for the rest of the school year, she looks forward to what she has to learn from her experience in the United States.

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Taft Welcomes Italian Exchange Student