Since I have now made it home safely to the US, this will be my last post! I want to take a few minutes to talk about the things I liked and did not like about this trip...
The main reason I was in Italy was to finish my student teaching assignment, so this was a huge part of my trip. I can't lie and say that it was all perfect. The other student teachers and myself really struggled at times, but no matter what, I truly did enjoy the time I spent teaching at Respighi. This school was run so differently from anything I have been exposed to before. I have already posted about this once, but the students owned the classroom, the teachers (other than 3-4) did not speak any English, the students spoke very little English at times (depending on the class), and I had little to no planning time during the week (especially since we were out on different excursions every night). The hardest thing for me was feeling like I was completely unprepared. I don't feel that we knew enough about what we were expected to do before we left America. I was under the impression that I would only need 4-5 lessons. When I got to Italy, I was told (less than 24 hours hours before my first class) that I would actually be teaching nine different classes of two different levels, which added up to 10 total lessons. Had I known this before I left, it wouldn't have been a problem, but it is extremely hard to plan for this when you go to school all day and then on excursions until 11 or 12 at night. The students were so sweet, though, that they made class enjoyable anyway. :) I will really miss some of them now that I am back in America.
MY HOST FAMILY
I don't think it is possible for me to have been placed with a host family I care about more than the Rizzis. From the very first day, they treated me like I had lived with them my entire life. They took me everywhere, from their home in the mountains, to Venice, to all of their other family events. Every one of my favorite memories from the trip come from times when I was with them, and I felt so at home with them that I almost wasn't ready to come home when the time came! They have already written me letters, emails, and have offered up their house in the mountains to me if I ever decide to come back to Italy, so I am sure that one day I will. They really are like a second family to me. <3
Overall, I loved this entire trip, and I would never take it back. I loved my host family, going to eat lunch at their grandmother's house everyday, walking to school, not stressing over emails and phone calls all the time, the wine, the mountains, the way everyone in Rompeggio treats you like they have known you your whole life, the clothes, the landscape, the history, ...everything! I cannot wait to go back one day.
Since being back, though, I have graduated from Western Kentucky University and am now ready to move on with my teaching career.
In the letter my host mother wrote to me right before I left, she told me that when I see the sun come up in the morning, she hopes that I will always think of them behind it. I love Italy, I had an amazing time, and I know that I will never forget the time I spent there. :) I encourage everyone who has the opportunity to GO!!