Personal experience

It’s the last week of school here in Italy and Gaia is coming to the end of elementary school and 5th grade after a year being fully immersed in Italian culture and being faced with learning a new language in a new school and with new friends. We are so proud of her resiliency and the great strides she has made.

Today her 5th grade class put on an entertaining end of year performance of music, dance and theatre in a play written with their teachers that encapsulated their school year at Istituto Belforte. The play included a part all about Gaia (a new, super tall, American girl who didn’t speak any Italian) coming into this class of 5th graders, many of whom had been together since kindergarten. Gaia gave a great speech in Italian about her year’s experience and how her friends and teachers helped her to learn the language and feel so much more confident and sure of herself in her new home. Much of the play was in English, too, to highlight the strides made by Gaia’s Italian peers in becoming bi-lingual.

After the performance there was a party in the garden celebrating the elementary school experience with all
the teachers, students, parents and many relatives. There was a beautiful buffet, wine and champagne! Italians love to
celebrate and know how to do it! Gaia gave another impromptu speech during the party thanking all her classmates and teachers for being so welcoming to her this year. The kids all chanted her name and had a big group
hug. Way to go Gaia!!!!