Every year, Yorba Linda High School hosts a number of foreign exchange students from across the globe. Chiara Miliani (11), from Italy, is one student visiting YLHS during the 2019-2020 school year.
Students have the opportunity to stay with a host family who help them acclimate to life in America. To make them feel even more comfortable, YLHS students welcome these international visitors to campus with open arms.
High school in Italy and high school in California are completely different. Here at YLHS, we switch classes every period and in the new classes we have a different teacher and different classmates. In Italy, classes are much different students are not allowed to choose their classes, and they do not switch classes every period. Similarly to classes here, each high school has a specialty. Each school specializes in something like business or culinary. Before entering high school, apply to the school. However, high school in Italy is five years.
Coming to a new country alone and adapting to a new life can be scary. Chiara only spoke with her host family once before she left Italy. That could easily leave someone with a lot of questions. Chiara was coming into a different culture that she did not know much about. Even with all the excitement that she had, she still had questions and doubts.
Chiara’s host family is made up of her host mom and her host sister who is twenty three. It would be scary moving to a new country with unfamiliar people. Chiara Miliani felt “welcomed with open arms and right at home from the start.” Since she has arrived, she has been made to feel like a part of the family.
In Italy, Chiara played volleyball. Here in the US, Chiara is a part of the women’s junior varsity volleyball team at YLHS. There is not much of a difference between how volleyball is played here and in Italy. The main differences that Chiara has noticed would be the sportsmanship of the girls on the team. In Italy, the girls play and only do what is best for them and not the whole team. Chiara feels that here, “the girls want to do what is best for the team.” Contrastly, Italy does not have a high school volleyball team, for there is only club volleyball and it is not taken as seriously by all the girls, which makes it difficult to develop advanced skills.
Chiara can’t decide her one favorite thing about the US. She loves experiencing a new country and a brand new culture. Being here is pushing her out of her comfort zone and giving her once in a lifetime experiences. During this time, Chiara is opening her mind up to new endeavors and she is very excited to see what comes next. YLHS is very fortunate to have a student like Chiara and would love to have more foreign exchange students in the future.