Okay people. Let me introduce myself before anything else. My name is Davis Richardson, and I live in Starkville, Mississippi, USA. I have made the decision to participate in the Rotary Youth Exchange Program for the 2011-2012 school year. What is this wonderful program, you ask? Well I’ll tell you. This program allows kids 15-18 from all over the world to travel abroad and live with host families, learn a foreign language, immerse themselves in another culture, and learn a ridiculous amount of information about our world and its diversity.
So here’s how I got to where I am today: I started this process of application early last fall (2010) and had 3 top choices for my host country: 1) Italy 2) Spain 3) Switzerland. Thankfully, by December I learned that I had been accepted to Italy!! My host Rotary district is 2040, which covers the Milano metro area in northern Italy. When I learned this was where I would be living, my reaction was ASODFIJALS;DFJLKASDJFL;ASDKFJA;LSDKJFL;ASDJFKLJAOSDIF over and over again.
However, it was not until early May that I received any information about my first host family. While other countries are efficient with their paperwork (students in some countries knew their host families in February) I soon learned that the Italians take their time with many aspects of life. Let me tell you that waiting the entire spring semester for specific information was torture.
But it was well worth the wait. When I learned my host family, my reaction was even more OISJDFKL;ASDJFL;ASKDJF; than when I learned I got Italy as my country. My host parents are named Emiliano and Emilia (Milly) Giorgi. They have 3 sons: Andrea, 21, in college; Marco, 18, starting college this fall; and Luca, 16, who will be in Virginia on exchange this year as well. I’ll probably never meet Luca in person but oh well. The Giorgi family lives on a street right in the exact geographic center of Milano itself. Not a suburb; the actual city. Of Milano. With 1.320.000 residents. SO AMAZING.
Soon after I learned my family, Milly asked me which school I would like to attend. That’s right, even though I just graduated here, I will still be in high school in Italy! I could go to the high school section of the college of Conservatorio di Musica, the largest music college in Italy; or I could attend a high school that is considered more “normal” when compared to US schools. Given my interests in music, it was an obvious choice.
Soon a teacher from the Conservatorio contacted me and requested videos of performances. I sent her some, and she said she would let the choir maestro view them and she would also find me a suitable piano teacher. Seeing as I haven’t taken piano lessons in 4 years, this is going to be interesting. Especially at the foremost music school in the artistic center of the world. Starting to question my choice of this school….I mean these kids are going to be like professional opera singers!!!! Ahh!!! I guess I’ll have to just….blend in? We shall see.