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Exchange Student Expands Her Horizons at North

Mary Cashman, Reporter

 This is Alice Bondi’s first year in the Exchange Program. “This is about expanding your horizons, and open[ing] your mind and decide about your future.”

This is Alice Bondi’s first year in the Exchange Program. “This is about expanding your horizons, and open[ing] your mind and decide about your future.” (Photo by Jacob Taylor)

Every year, Bloomington North hosts a number of exchange students who all have made the decision to leave their families for an entire school year and come study in Bloomington.

Most of them have never been to America before this year.

So what makes them decide to leave their families and friends for an entire year abroad?
“To change my life, and to explore a new culture, [to experience] the American system, and to grow up,” junior Alice Bondi said.

Bondi is an exchange student from Italy.  Though she’s only been here two weeks, she, along with other exchange students, are staying for the duration of the 2016-2017 school year.

“I love the American school system,” Bondi said.

She explained that while in America, there are general schools, with classes that cover everything.  It is not the same in Italy.  In Italy, there are specialized schools where students do not have the option of choosing which classes they take, and the curriculum does not include after-school sports programs.  For this reason, Bondi is interested in joining the tennis team next semester.  

Bondi’s classes and grades are very important to her, and she wishes to do well.  She almost didn’t get accepted into the program because she’d been studying English for only three years.

Bondi has only been to America once previously, on a family trip to New York, where she and her family stayed for two weeks. She said she was fond of the city, and it is her dream to see all of America, as well as explore Brazil.

The experience of living in Bloomington, so far, has also proved to be exciting and new. When Bondi tried to explain why she joined the Exchange Program, she spoke of her wish to be able to explore a culture different from her own.

In Italy, Bondi’s family cooked more traditional foods, “not junk food.” Her American mother wants to take Bondi to an Italian restaurant, perhaps to see if the American version can compare. Bondi also said that she misses her mother’s cooking.

Reminiscing on that fact, the strangest thing she’s experienced is students eating lunch at school. Students are not allowed to have food at school in Italy, and eat lunch at home with their families. Bondi also used a different mode of transportation to get around her home town, Ravenna.

“The difference is, in Ravenna, I used only my bike, and [the] bus,” she said.  “Here, I have to use the car.”

Bondi said the family she is living with now has three children, and one of her host-brothers has been showing her around and bringing her along with his friends. She’s too busy to miss her family too much, but ruefully admits that this could change.  It’s going to be a long year in a new country away from everything she knows.
The Exchange Student program was designed to give students a worldwide view of different cultures and environments, and enhance their language and social skills. Bondi sees the program as just that — an opportunity to expand her horizons, and open her mind to new things.

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The Student News Site of Bloomington High School North
Exchange Student Expands Her Horizons at North