Q&A: Eléna Kostner (11)

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Eléna Kostner (11) smiles for the camera after her interview. This picture was taken before her track practice.

Morgyn McAllister

Q: Why did you come to the United States?

A: I came here because [in] the fourth year, we have five years of high school, you have a possibility of being exchanged somewhere and my sister made this too. She told me the experience was amazing, you meet a lot of new people [and] your own body gets better at everything. Learning English is of course very important because our teachers in Italy aren’t as good. Living with new people is a big experience and helps a lot with life.

Q:Do you exchange families with an American student?

A: No, that’s a different program. We have that too, but that’s more like in the language schools where they do this and most of the time it’s just like a month or less and I’m here for like a year, actually ten months because that’s a school year. For the other one where you switch students, that’s through the school.

Q: What is a difference between going to school in Italy and going to school in the United States?

A:The biggest difference is that we have a different school system. We have five years of high school and our teachers walk to our class instead of us going to the teachers. We have our class and everyone comes to us, so we have five years in the same room and teachers come to us.

Q: When did you start learning English?

A: In the first year of middle school, but it’s just like basics and the teachers are really bad. They don’t know English and have never been to the United States.

Q: Is there ever a language barrier when you talk to people from the United States?

A: Slang is hard to understand and if somebody makes a joke it’s hard to understand. My dad once said like shut the front door I think and I was very confused and was thinking of what did he mean. Also, when people are talking I need to watch their mouth so I can understand it better.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share?

A: If somebody has the possibility to do this they really should because to travel the world is something that nobody can be thanked enough for.