Exchange students relocate to countryside


Molly Gutshall, Reporter

Big Spring High School has had a lot of new additions to the roster in the past two years, and Francesco Barone and Giulio Cerinza-Pettreca, are two such students who have relocated from different parts of the world to Big Spring High School. Francesco Barone is from Florence, Italy and has to come to Big Spring to live with a host family. He took three planes: a two hour flight from Florence to Frankfurt, Germany. Then, he traveled to Chicago, which was a nine and a half hour flight. Finally, he waited five hours in Chicago to take a plane to Harrisburg. Barone said, “So, the trip was long, very long.” The difference between the schooling in Italy and in the United States was a huge shock to him. Barone said, “(It’s) pretty much different in every way. The schedule, subjects, teachers, sports school teams, and the technology is all different, although I cannot tell which I prefer more because both focus on very different things.” Cultural differences are something else that Barone described as, “really different.” Barone said, “The food is different, the lifestyle is different, and so many other things.” Barone will leave the United States at the end of the first semester, the beginning of February. He will go back to school to finish one more year of high school, since there are five years of high school to complete in Italy. Plus Barone said, “The pizza isn’t that bad here. Although, you do put a lot of toppings and stuff on a pizza that should never end up on a pizza.”

Giulio Cerinza-Pettreca is from Germany. Cerinza-Pettreca said, “We flew here, and that was very stressful. I am very excited about American music.” American music is also the reason Cerinza-Pettreca stated as to why he came to the United States in the first place. Cerinza-Pettreca said, “Big Spring has more activities and things to do. The teachers are nice too.” Cerinza-Pettreca plans on staying in the United States for ten months and then going back to Germany. Cerinza-Pettreca said, “I like the US, but I can’t wait to get back to Germany.” Mason Peters, a classmate of Cerinza-Pettreca, said, “Giulio is pretty cool, and he is doing his best to adapt the best he can to Big Spring.”

Judy Creps, one of the counselors at the high school, provided input into the foreign exchange program now, and in the past. The Big Spring School District has seen an increase in the amount of students relocating to this area in the past few years. This year there were three students who came to study at Big Spring, compared to the two the came the past few years. The students come from the ASSE program, an International Student Exchange Program. Being an exchange student can be expensive; in fact, to study in the United States, it would be between 3 and 5 thousand dollars. With those costs, it is very unusual for students at Big Spring to participate in the program. Creps said, “It isn’t common for students at Big Spring. It isn’t something we advertise; students seek the program by themselves.” She said that it was unusual because of the the expense and the language barrier. “For example, Giulio came to Big Spring High School after the year had already started which made it hard for him to catch up. The expenses can sometimes be covered by the Carlisle Rotary, an association that  gives students some of the money.”  She said, “When a student comes to me and says that they want to be a foreign exchange student, I usually just get them in contact with the rotary.”

Creps noted that this has been done before, most recently with a students traveling to India and Argentina.