Meet Valerio from Italy, our Student Ambassador for the month of February.
1) Tell us about your high school exchange year.
I go to North Highschool in Bakersfield, California. We are called the North High Stars because the school is between Universe Avenue and Galaxy Avenue, which is pretty funny I think! My favorite thing about school is the variety of elective classes you can take. I’m in Photography and Drafting, which I will miss when I go home!
2) How does life in Italy compare to life in California?
I’ve been in swimming since I was four but it has always been something that I did just for fun. Here at North High, I’m on the varsity swim team and I train two hours every day - it’s really exhausting but I love it. Back in Italy everything is so small compared to here in America. School is also very different: In Italy we get out at 1PM but we go to school 6 days a week. Back home we also usually only hang out only Saturday night, while here in California, you hang out whenever you want!
3) Why did you decide you wanted to go on an exchange year?
America has always been my dream, so when my parents told me that I could do my fourth year of high school there I decided to immediately go for it and didn’t think twice. I just wanted to go, travel and experience America. Originally I was only going to do only one semester here, but thankfully I managed to extend my passport and my visa so I could stay for the second semester!
4) Why did you want to become an EF Exchange Year Ambassador? What kind of things do you do as an Ambassador?
I felt so honored when I received the news that I got selected as an Ambassador and feel honored every month when there is a new project that allows me to share my experience. My favorite thing about being an Ambassador is being a point of reference for other students - I help new students embrace the idea of exchang by showing how I live. I wanted to become an Ambassador after being inspired by another Ambassador at EF Camp. I wanted to inspire at least one person like the way he inspired me.
5) What advice would you give current or future exchange students?
Go! Get out of your comfort zone that is your home and your country. Be excited to learn about a new culture, meet amazing people, discover new interests and find a new place to call home. After an experience like this nothing can stop you. You will learn how to be more responsible away from your parents and from your friends, you will try new food and you will see things that your friends from home can only see in pictures! Don’t give up, ever. Always look forward and embrace the big and wonderful country that America is!
Valerio (left) with members of the EF Class of '17 with Jasper (blue), Camp Ambassador, 2016.
After Valerio returns home he hopes to continue his journey by transitioning from a Student Ambassador to a Returnee Ambassador (like Malin from Sweden). Check out all the ways you can stay involved by learning more about the EF Ambassador Program.