Today marks the 13th day I have been here in Modica, Italy, and I am in love with it! From the wonderful people and delicious food, to the beautiful landscapes and historic architecture, Sicily has it all! BTW I promise I am not advertising for Italy...
Anyway, I live in the town called Modica, located in the Southeast corner of the island Sicily. My town is a pretty popular touristic city and it is no wonder because it is so gorgeous as you can see!
Another town I visit quite a lot is Scicli. My host family likes to joke that I am in Scicli more than I am in Modica, and if you ask me, Scicli is even more beautiful than Modica!
School here is much much more different then in the United States! First, you decide which kind of high school you want to go to: classical, scientific, linguistic, culinary, artistic (my school), musical, technical, and 7 more. At those specified schools, you have different tracks that you can take. For instance, at the art school you can choose sculpture (my track), drawing and painting, fashion and design, or architecture. These schools do not just have classes revolving around the specified subject, however. In my case, I have 11 total classes: philosophy, religion, history, art history, gym, math, chemistry, English, Italian, practical sculpture, and sculpture theory. I only have between 4-6 of these classes each day because each class is 1 hour and school is 4-6 hours long.
Another difference between the schools is that you stay with the same people for all of your classes and while the teachers switch rooms. I like this because I get to know my 16 classmates much better than if I were to have 100 different ones.
While I was not out sightseeing or attending school, I was taking part in so many memorable experiences! So far I have: gone out to breakfast and tasted my first Sicilian granita, stayed at my host-families beach house (below), been a part of a babies baptism at the church, tasted my first Italian pizza and gelato (below), gone out with friends for frozen yogurt, seen many beautiful churches (above), visited the first Modican chocolate factory/store, encountered a scorpion in my bedroom, eaten "burgers" with friends and family, overlooked Scicli from the highest possible point (above), begun school, tried* espresso, shopped in town, eaten dinner with other AFSers in the area, appeared on the news, gone to the mall, seen fireworks at the End of Summer Celebration (below), visited an amazing hotel (below), baked a cake and bignès, gone to Federica's 21st birthday party (below), tried some alcohol, and attended my first Italian language class. Wow, I haven't realized how much I have done until now. I can thank my incredible host family for all of these great experiences and the many more to come!
I have been interested in studying abroad since the summer before sophomore year. I was not thinking too seriously about being an exchange student, however, because it was such a far-fetched concept to me. I mean let's be honest, I have never been away from my family for more than 5 days, never been outside of the country, and-to point out the obvious-I do not know any languages aside from English! So what made me think that this would EVER be a good idea? Well, I still have no clue! What I do know, though, is that I have a big passion for learning about different cultures and experiencing life from a new perspective. These two desires completely surpassed all of the negatives I was faced with.
After deciding that studying abroad was what I really wanted, I had to convince my parents. Not an easy thing to do considering I would be asking them to send their only daughter to live with another family in another country for ten months. The key to getting their permission? Lots of tears and begging. Not the most dignified thing, but hey, it worked! And thanks to my incredible parents, I will be an exchange student in Sicily, Italy next year!
I was placed with an unbelievably kind family in a town called, Modica. Modica is a highly-visited spot in Sicily known for its chocolate. Thank you Lord! It is located on the Southern tip of Sicily. Sicily is the island off of the Southern tip of mainland Italy.
In Modica, I will be staying with a family of six! I have four host sisters, Frederica, Chiara, Laura, and Agnese. My host parents are Guiseppe and Miriam. They are all very sweet and I am looking forward to meeting them! I have been talking to the girl my age, and I can tell that we will get along great-we both love food! I will be attending an art school with her upon my arrival, and for once I am excited for school! I am signed up for the sculpture track at the school and I have a lot to learn. I am what you could call "artistically challenged". The school I am going to go to has school six days a week :(, but shorter days. The school ,however, has 40 students in my grade. This will be a HUGE change for me coming from a school with 600+ in my grade! I guess this is not as big of a change as the whole learning school in Italian thing is going to be. Needless to say, there will be many changes made in my life throughout the upcoming year.
So, three hours of begging, six essays, two interviews, one passport, and one (incredibly awful) shot later, I have a two-way ticket to Italy!
Weeks I have been in