Students form friendships across cultures

Every year, foreign exchange students from all over the world arrive at Perry Meridian for a cultural and academic education.

These students bring their traditions and cultures, and Perry students try their best to help make them feel welcome as they call Indiana their home for the school year.

For senior Italian exchange students Sara Andreetti and Camilia Papeo, visiting America was a life goal. 

Papeo, however, isn’t new to traveling, as she has ventured throughout Europe, specifically France and Germany, before coming to the United States. 

One of her closest friends, who was placed in Boston, told her about her experience, pushing Papeo to join the program. 

“I wanted to experience a different culture, and America has always been my dream,” Papeo says.

Her goal is to expand on her English and to be able to open herself up to American culture.

Although Papeo is scared that she will miss important events, she sees the importance of traveling to a new country and experiencing something new. 

“You can really become independent and experience another culture,” Papeo says .

Unlike Papeo, Andreeti has never travelled outside of Europe, but chose to come to America for the “American Dream.”

“This big country where all life is different and the culture is different, the prom and the big school, for me it’s like a big movie,” Andreeti says.

She envisions it as a test to prepare her for attending a university and one day living here.

Andreeti believes being an exchange student can teach one to adapt to a different culture and to people. 

Last year, senior Lillian Speedy became best friends with an exchange student from Italy named Sofia. 

“When she left, I was crushed,” Speedy says. “She brought such a wild energy, and I loved every second of it.”

According to Speedy, foreign exchange students bring great impact, as they offer a new culture along with new personalities and opportunities for friendships. 

“It adds variety in the school and gives foreign students a great opportunity too,” Speedy says.