My mom dropped me at the Digbeth coach station in the morning, since my dad had work and my brothers were at school, but they wished they could see me off. At the station, I met Mr. Morris, Ms. Saggu and Samrain.
I said goodbye to my mom and boarded the coach as soon as it arrived. I sat by the window and Samrain sat next to me. I was so excited because I was about to leave England and go to a different country, without my parents and no school.
At Gatwick Airport, we checked in – I’ve never experienced such a stressful check in. You see, we had to do it ourselves.
We boarded the plane and Samrain and I tucked into the Italian pizza her dad had made. It was really nice and it felt like I was eating something from Italy already. We chatted for a bit and then went to sleep as we had got up so early in the morning.
After the long journey, we finally arrived in Catania – but we still had to catch the coach to Messina.
Finally, we reached Messina at around 11 o’clock at night so it was quite late. The host families were already there waiting for us. I couldn’t believe how tall Giulio and her family were. She came with her parents and they seemed very nice people. We got into the car. Guilia’s English was really good. Her dad spoke a bit too but her mother didn’t speak much English. They asked me questions about my journey and I called my mom to say that I had arrived safely in Italy – but I still couldn’t believe that I was in Italy at last!
When I finally arrived at their house I got a nice greeting from Muffin, their dog, he was very cute and didn’t really bark at me. After checking that I had all that I needed, we said goodnight.
Second day in Italy. I woke up and went to have breakfast. Although I would normally eat cereal for breakfast, I had fruit and yogurt instead. At least it was healthy. At this moment, I met Guilia’s older sister, Laura, who apparently went to England to study nursing. I told her that my mom is a nurse too. After breakfast, I gave the gift I had brought for the family – I was glad they liked it.
After getting dressed, we went into town by car. It was quite a long journey, but the funny thing is they had to pay to get into town which I thought was odd. I told them that in England, going to town was free and all we had to pay for was the parking.
After seeing the view and walking out together, we went to eat a leisurely lunch.
Later, we went shopping. The shops weren’t very easy to find because they weren’t very close together like we have in England.
I remembered that I had to go to Guilia’s school the next day, so I prepared my things in readiness. I dressed smartly because I wanted to make a good impression but I didn’t know that they are not allowed to wear skirts or anything short at school. I was embarrassed when everyone stared at me in my skirt.
Third day in Italy – I woke up, had breakfast and then got dressed. Before class started, I met with Samrain and talked about how different their school is to ours. Guilia’s first class was chemistry but I really couldn’t understand much apart from the fact that they were talking about atoms and elements. After that, we had activities for the project, met with other visiting students and went for a tour around the school. It’s quite similar to some of the classrooms in our school but science was different because they had to change rooms for different experiments – which I understand and I think it’s safer that way.
After the tour, we made our presentation about what we had to do for the project. After school, we went by coach to a place called Taormina. It’s where the old Roman theatre is and also the views are amazing because you could see the rest of Italy from where you were standing. We also saw the sea – I’m so happy that I actually got to see this place, I mean it really was beautiful.
Soon after, we had dinner in a place near the cathedral and we sat down together with some other exchange students and their hosts. We ordered our food and drinks and had a chat which was nice because we were getting to know each other more. Soon after we finished we went out to look at other things. We saw an ice cream stand. They had similar flavours but way more than we have in England. I had two flavours, vanilla and chocolate.
On the way back to Messina, I was really tired so I went to sleep on the coach.
Fourth day in Italy. The first lesson we had was Physics. The teacher could speak a bit of English so he said hello and asked me how I was doing. Then we went to do another presentation about human rights. Soon after we had to go to a room with computers where we had to work with Italian students who helped us to think about human rights because we were going to have a debate about it. I nervous, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I got closer to other people, to understand them more, the importance of human rights how we can solve the problems we have in our world today. I thought that was fun and interesting.
After lunch, we caught a bus to go to a music museum. This was bit boring but the view we had was amazing because the museum was up in the mountains. On the way, back down the mountain it was fun because Samrain and I sang a song.
We went back home to rest for a bit before going out shopping. After that we went to have dinner since we were hungry and also the shops were closing anyway. I tried Italian traditional food – it was really interesting. That night, I was so happy that I was there in Italy.
Fifth day in Italy. It was our last day before we had to go back. So, I woke up and had my last Italian breakfast. We went to class and this time we had history. History to the Italians is important because they learn their mistakes from the past and try to make a better future for the next generations. After the class we had another presentation about other countries and the problems they currently face. Spain was quite interesting. Halfway through the presentation the Principal of the school arrived (she was really pretty I thought). She couldn’t speak English but one of the teachers translated for her. She was saying how happy she was to meet us all and hoping to see us all in the future. Samrain went up to meet her saying how nice the people are and everything was lovely. It was true! Everyone was nice, we had amazing food, I was treated well and everything was perfect. After that we had art, where we tried our hand at origami.
After school, we visited another museum. It was about Messina and after the earthquake they had in 1909. It was so interesting.
Unfortunately, after that we had to go back home. After a couple of hours, we had dinner and shared some nice memories over the past few days. Then I had to get my stuff ready so I could leave straight away. I became more and more upset.
After double checking everything, we drove to the bed and breakfast that Miss and Sir were staying. We had to say our goodbyes. I cried and then everyone else was crying with me, I couldn’t stop. I was so lucky to meet such people who treated me like their own and I loved it, and I loved them like my family.
That night we both agreed from now on, we will stay as friends and try to keep in touch with everyone we met in Italy.
Final day in Italy. Woke up at 2 am, was quite hard to get up because we didn’t have much time to sleep. We went downstairs to get our taxi to Catania, where we were going to catch a plane to Rome. It was a long journey and Samrain and I tried to catch up on some sleep when we could.
At last, our plane to Gatwick was ready.
Having arrived in England, it was time to adjust again. I wanted to reunite with my family but we had to wait another hour for our coach to Birmingham airport.
After saying our goodbyes, it was lovely to finally be with my family.
And that was my journey, to be honest, one of the best journeys I’ve ever experienced. I made the best choice signing up, it went perfectly. I wish I could do that again, sometime in the future. I’m so happy I’ve made such special memories; I’m glad that I made new friends and saw new things. I would highly recommend taking prospects like this to anyone; it’s such a good trip. LOVED IT.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity, ERASMUS.