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Ciao, Italiani del Convitto! Välkommna till Sverige!

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A few weeks back, 21 happy students from IEGS went to Rome for an exchange with Liceo Classico Europeo (the school of Classicism and European studies), part of the Convitto Nazionale in Rome. Now, 22 Italian students have arrived in Stockholm.

The Convitto Nazionale, National Boarding school, of Rome has been around since 1595, starting off as a religious institution. It later served as the training grounds for the young soldiers of Mussolini's army. Today, it's a school with an aim at providing cutting-edge education.

So why then is Liceo Classico Europeo visiting little us? We had a small talk with one of their teachers, Laura Santucci, who had this to say:

“In our school we have a long tradition of cultural exchanges, in particular with schools where the students are English speakers. Even though Sweden and Italy are both members of the European Union, we still have different traditions, different habits and different ways of studying – the way our daily school-life looks like. We want our students to experience these differences. And this is probably the first purpose, the first aim, of our stay here: and the reason that we continue to do these exchanges, with Sweden and other countries as well.”

So far this week, the exchangers have visited the City Hall and Culture House, walked around on a guided tour of Gamla Stan and the Royal Castle, as well as visiting Skansen. Together, they have also written historical fiction short stories as well as translating famous Swedish poems by Tomas Tranströmer and Karin Boye into Italian. The poems can be read here!

We managed to get a hold of one of the Italian students, Matteo Betello, to tell us a little bit about his experience with the exchange.

Matteo, what were your expectations for this exchange? - This exchange is a good opportunity for me to get to know a new culture, to meet new people and learn about the Swedish language; culture. And I've always been very interested in looking at different countries, like Sweden. You have been in

Sweden for a few days now, what's your first impression? - Sweden is a very interesting and beautiful country, it's big, vast. And Stockholm is one of the most beautiful cities that I've visited in the world. It's very cold and different from Italy. I mean, because it's very warm in Italy and in Rome. But it's very beautiful, it's very different from Rome and other Italian cities.

How was it having a Swede living with you in Italy? - Cool and amazing, because I love hosting people in my house and become friends with them. And now, this exchange has become very important for me – because I've gotten to know many different types of people and I grew up in a way where knowing other people makes me “mature”. It was great having him in Rome with me, I think he learned a lot of things about Rome, the history and the culture. We had a beautiful time together.

The Italian students will remain in Sweden up until Saturday the 16th. So if you see any of them roaming the halls be sure to greet them with a 'Ciao!' in your best Italian accent!

[Authored by Jesper Lindahl, Maja Hägnefors, Chelsea Gilbert]

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