Luca Petrella: A long way from home


(Grace Gustafson)

By Grace Gustafson

While most seniors are ecstatic to start their reign and reunite with their friends on the first day of school, Luca Petrella was just trying to get to class on time. Petrella is an exchange student who traveled to California from Lake Como, Italy. He is a senior and will be attending Tam up until the end of the first semester. In spite of Petrella having a typical American appearance and having no problem blending in with the ‘scene’ around Tam campus, he still feels like an outsider. When asked about the hardest adjustment he had to face in the past week, he answered, “I do really like it here, but it is hard to come into a school and make friends when you are a senior. Everyone already has their friends.” Thankfully, he has made a few along the way and will continue to do so throughout the semester. Although making friends will be an upcoming affair, Petrella swears that the far more serious and important concern he will have to endeavor is switching from Italian to American made pasta.

       Even though America is known for its ridiculously competitive college process, American high schools don’t stand a chance against those in Italy. When asked which schooling system was harder, he answered, “It is easier here for sure. You guys get long breaks and there isn’t as much work.” At high schools in Italy, students begin the school day at 8:00 AM and finish at 2:00 PM. The hours are almost the same as the US, but what occurs during the day is much different. Even though students are there until 2pm, they don’t receive a break for lunch. They have classes and work for the entirety of the day without a break longer than five minutes and eating during those breaks is strictly prohibited. Not only are students glued to their work throughout the day, they are glued to their classroom. In almost every high school in America, students typically move from one classroom to another. In Italy, it is the teachers who rotate, leaving students confined to one classroom. You would think that after a long day without food or much break, the student could spend the remainder of the day relaxing with their friends or family. Unfortunately for Petrella, and the rest of the high school students in Italy, that is not the case. “It is standard to have a least three hours of studying per night. We don’t get homework like you guys do here, but we get so much studying. I like the homework more than studying,” Petrella said. 

Even though from the classes to the food everything is different, Petrella is looking forward to the rest of his semester at Tam.