Exchange program brings Italian student to Grand Co.
Jacopo Landi lives in Northern Italy, is 16 years old, loves basketball and doesn’t like homework — pretty much a typical teenager. He’ll be attending Middle Park High School this school year through the Education, Travel and Culture exchange program.
Landi will be hosted by a local family for a five month stint in an effort to learn more about America and experience American culture.
“These kids just want an experience and it’s very important to open your heart and your home to them,” said Amanda Rosenfried, the local coordinator for the exchange program and Landi’s host. “For Jacopo, we hope that more people learn about Italy, they get to taste the food, and they just get to hang out with a really cool kid and that the kids at the high school get to see that he’s not that much different from them. Kids from around the world like the same things, they do the same things, they just speak a different language or live in a different country.”
The Education, Travel and Culture exchange program places 15- to 18-year-old students from over 15 different countries throughout America, including in Grand County through a local coordinator. The students all attend the local high school and stay for either five or 10 months.
Rosenfried said the goal of the program is foster understanding of American culture in foreign countries, as well as encourage American students to learn about foreign countries.
“Our whole mission is to foster an idea of diplomacy between the United States and the countries we inbound from,” she said. “The impact is really great and you get to see another country through the eyes of the student. It opens up a huge world to you.”
When Rosenfried was a student, she studied abroad in Thailand and said her experience there greatly impacted her and is what made her want to host foreign students.
“I know exactly how (the students) feel,” she said. “I know what they’re going through and I know it’s very important for those of us in the United States to show these kids what an American family is like.”
She said it is very rewarding to host a student so excited to experience Grand County and urged other local families to consider hosting a student. Ideally, Rosenfried would like to place two more students with local families, so that more students can have a study abroad experience and build a community.
“We have something really special here and we need to share it with these kids,” Rosenfried said. “I think that the people in Grand County can offer a lot to these kids.”
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