foreign exchange student
Living the American Dream
BY MENNA ABDEL-SALAM OCTOBER 31 2014
Over the years, Rose has been known for participating in study abroad programs and accepting foreign exchange students. We have had students in the past from Brazil, Australia and many other countries; however, this year, junior Filippo Cassini has come to Rose from Italy.
“I arrived in America on July 22 and will be leaving in one year,” Cassini said. “It is going to be a very interesting experience, and I’m really looking forward to see how this year is going to turn out.”
Cassini is currently living with Steven and Marnie Hill, who are both teachers at Rose.
“My wife and I are coordinators for a local exchange company, and the family [Cassini] was staying with in Little Washington didn't work out, so we went ahead and volunteered to take him into our home,” Hill said.
According to Hill, Cassini seems to be transitioning well and is not having much difficulty.
“We try to keep him busy every weekend and we try to teach him new things,” Hill said. “For example, we took him to an ECU football game and we taught him how to fire a shotgun.”
Although Cassini has not faced any major struggles, he says that Rose is much different than the high school system in Italy.
“In Italy, I do not get the option to choose my classes. High school is five years, not four, and students stay in a fixed class rather than moving around the school,” Cassini said.
Before going on the journey, Cassini had to make preparations that would make him eligible to study abroad.
“I had to take several oral tests and concentration tests that determined if I was able to come to America or not,” Cassini said.
For many of the foreign exchange students who have come to Rose, adjusting to the language and culture is a frequent complication.
Hill, who has also lived and traveled abroad, says the most important thing is to not be afraid to ask questions. Hill has been taking out some of his time to help Cassini understand American language in order to make his transition run smoother.
“The reasons he’s coming to America is to learn English,” Hill said. “So I have been helping him comprehend certain phrases or words that he’s not familiar with, even if he didn’t ask.”
Cassini also agrees that speaking English has been the most difficult task for him so far.
“I studied English for nine years, but it’s still difficult for me to speak and understand,” Cassini said. “It’s a work in progress, though.”
Although Cassini is still settling in and learning about the American culture, he says he is thrilled to be part of the foreign exchange program.
“I’ve always wanted to come to America,” Cassini said. “It has been my dream ever since I was a child and now I’m living it."