Exchange for Everyone

Seniors from Belgium, Italy expand their horizons


Wyatt Madvig

Vittoria Nicotra and Dana Infusino cheer with junior Wyatt Madvig and senior Mayla Engebretson in a football student section.

Foreign exchange students, Italian Vittoria Nicortra and Belgian Dana Infusino, traveled to Black River Falls with the prospect of education and to experience a new culture.

They both have very different reasons for furthering their education at Black River Falls High School. Nicotra feels that it will bring her more life experiences.

“I decided to come here because my brother was also an exchange student, and he always talks about how good it is to be an exchange student. I truly believe it really broadens your horizons. It really opens your mind because you get to see such a different culture and lifestyle,” said Nicotra.

I think it’s very important to also step out of your comfort zone because you move in different places without knowing anyone. You really have to try and be strong.”

— Vittoria Nicotra, senior

Infusino’s reasons for coming to our school were a bit different than Nicotra’s.

“I didn’t choose to come here. I was supposed to go to California.”

While Dana didn’t get a choice in where she went, she says that the people here are treating her well

“People here have been very nice and welcoming,” said Infusino.

Being so far away from home can be a bit of a struggle. Vittoria says that the amazing people that she has met here have helped her a lot. Although she’s surrounded by her friends, she is still far away from some pretty important people in her life, her parents.

“I didn’t understand how important my parents were in my life. I didn’t know how much I would miss them,” said Nicotra.

Both these exchange students have had different struggles with being here. Nicotra finds it challenging to be far from her loved ones and her friends. While Infusino, who was originally planning on going to California, is learning that she is not fond of the cold weather.

“The weather has been a big struggle. It’s really cold here,” said Infusino.

Not only is it really cold here, according to Infusino, the food is not very good compared to Italian and Belgian food.

“My Belgian and Italian food misses me a lot. I don’t really like your food here, sorry guys,” said Infusino.

Food is a topic that people seem to be very interested in. Nicotra is always getting asked if she’s tried or heard of certain things. She gave her take on food in the States.

“I get a lot of questions like, do you have these in Italy, and most of the time people are shocked when I say that we don’t have things like Walmart. They always have me try new foods and stuff because I say, ‘Oh I’ve never tried that,’ and I think it’s great.”

Although according to Infusino the food here isn’t as good as in Belgium and Italy, Nicotra still believes that being here is a good opportunity.

“I think it’s very important to also step out of your comfort zone because you move in different places without knowing anyone. You really have to try and be strong,” said Nicotra.

The foreign exchange students coming here is an experience for the students at Black River Falls High School as well.

“Because it’s an exchange not just for me, but also for the students here so we can actually exchange our cultures,” said Nicotra.