Last summer, members of the Jefferson Latin department participated in a cultural exchange program with schools in Italy. This program, developed as a joint effort by TJ and the Highland School, has brought students from the US and Italy together to learn about and experience firsthand different cultures from around the world.
The program runs every few years, where Latin students from all levels get the opportunity to travel halfway around the world and see how other people live. Likewise, Italian students travel to the US in order to experience American culture.
“Every couple of years, I take a group of kids to Italy, where they get to stay with Italian families. Likewise, the Italian students in the program come here. We had people come here in the past year, and we also went last summer,” Patricia Lister, one of the Latin teachers at Jefferson, said. “It’s really great to see how other people live. Although there are a lot of connections, there are also many differences too. I think it helps people appreciate that there’s more than one way to go about things.”
The program allows students to explore Italian culture and daily life firsthand by living with host families from schools participating in the program.
“On these trips, students stay with Italian families and experience Italian culture and daily life. We also go on excursions to museums or Roman ruins, but that’s not really the focus for this specific program,” Lister said.
The program allows students to make lasting connections with people from around the world and many students have stayed in touch with their host families for years.
“It’s nice to get out of your comfort zone on a trip like this and make these connections. A lot of times, people end up being friends with their Italian host families and they stay on contact with them for years. Sometimes, they even go back and visit in college. It’s a really neat connection,” Lister said.