Italian Exchange first to be Reinstated after Pandemic

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Curtis students exploring a historical landmark in Italy.

The first foreign exchange in over three years was to Milan, Italy.  The exchange with Alessandro Manzoni High School has been going on for around 40 years, only interrupted by the pandemic.  On April 3rd, 15 students left Curtis  to reunite with the students that had stayed with them the second week in March. The students were a mix of sophomores, juniors, and seniors. After 8 hours on a plane, they landed in Milan. They were picked up by their host families, but they only got to spend a brief amount of time together, because the next day, the American students were off to Florence, where they stayed in a hotel overnight and viewed a lot of art. Ms. Korten, one of the chaperons, used her artistic knowledge to educate the students about the history of the pieces they were seeing. Soojin Yoonsmith said, “the stained glass and frescoes at the Basilica of Saint Maria Novella were some of my favorites. We saw some of the first art to utilize perspective.”

When they returned to Milan, they immersed themselves in Italian culture. They stayed exclusively with the families over Easter weekend and indulged in many traditions, such as eating La Colomba, a sweet bread made with almonds and candied orange peels shaped like a dove. The Italian students also introduced the Americans to the clubbing scene in Milan. Ian Rautenstrauch said, “The highlight of my trip was the nightlife in Milan. Going out to clubs with our host students and other kids on the exchange was very fun.” After another 5 days, the group left for Rome. They were hosted in a hotel by nuns for two nights. They visited the Colosseum, Vatican City, and the Spanish Steps. Ryan Friar said, “The Roman forum and the Colosseum were really cool and huge since they were built sooo long ago and Carbonara, which is a famous Roman dish, was delicious.”