Q&A With Greta Bellú

Italian foreign exchange student Greta Bellú reflects on her first semester in the United States


Emily Alexander, Online Editor

What is the biggest difference between American and Italian high school?

“The biggest difference is the school because you change classes every hour and classmates, while in Italy, we just had the same class and the same classmates for all five years. And we have five years .”

What is your favorite memory with your host family?

“I think it’s Christmas because it’s a lot of family time. I obviously miss my family, but is like a second family. It’s quality time and I love when like we laugh a lot. They’re so funny and I really like them.”

What’s the weirdest experience you’ve had in America?

“It might sound weird, but we would never go to school without pajamas on, while here, I’ve come to school multiple times with my pajamas on. I know it’s normal here, but it’s very weird for me.”

What activities are you involved in at NW?

“I’m in yearbook and I’m a cheerleader.”

What is a lesson you’ve learned since coming to the US?

“I’ve learned a lot about myself. If I have a problem, I can just solve it alone. I’m strong enough to solve my problems without having my friends and my family right beside me. I can just do that alone. I can do it. And being more confident.”

What did a typical weekend look like in Italy?

“I have school on Saturday morning, so we just have Sunday off. On Saturday afternoon, I just have dinner with my best friends. Then also with them and other friends, we used to go to parties and nightclubs. On Sunday, I basically just study and spend some time with my family. In winter, I often go skiing with my dad. Then on Sunday evening, we have family dinner with cousins, uncles, aunts and grandparents.”

What do you miss most about Italy?

“Food and my friends. More than my family, I miss my friends.”

Was there anything that really surprised you about American culture?

“I wasn’t expecting that people were that nice. I don’t know if it’s just an impression, but I feel like Americans are really nice. They really put an effort and be kind and nice to everyone. That’s the thing that I wasn’t expecting.”

Is there anything that makes you nervous about going back to Italy?

“Sometimes when I write, I misspell words. I forget how to spell Italian words. I have a little niece and she’s very little, so I’m afraid that when I come back she’s gonna be more close to my brother than Aunt Greta. My friendships change. I’m not really afraid about my family because the family’s always the same, and I’m really afraid of changes. My best friend moved another city while I was here, so that’s gonna be a huge change. I don’t really want to think about it because I’m gonna get depressed.”

What was the foreign exchange program process like?

“It had always been a dream of mine, and I just said it to my parents. It was difficult to let me do that for them, but I wanted to come here so bad. You basically just like sign in this organization. I have an American and Italian organization. It’s easy but it’s hard to explain – you sign up and you just go.”

What is your favorite American food?

“I would say Costco pizza, or I love cheeseburgers, donuts and pancakes and breakfast food. I like a lot of American food, but they’re just not healthy. I’m used to healthier food.”

What does a typical American weekend look like for you?

“It’s like more boring than in Italy. On Saturday, I kind of help my host dad with the kids. Then I just hang out with friends. We just like go to the mall or Walmart, or we go to the movie theater or to the park; just normal things.”