Over the past two weeks, India in Year 12 has been involved in the Dorothy Rowe Trust Italian Exchange, which involves an exchange of students between Oxford High School and the Liceo Ettore Majorana in Pozzuoli, Naples.
This programme was endowed to commemorate the work of the late Dorothy Rowe, the first secretary of The Oxford Italian Association. She dedicated the last six years of her life to a greater understanding between the UK and Italy mostly by helping young people to become familiar with the other country’s culture and language.
We reached out to India to hear more about her and Chiara’s experience of this fantastic opportunity:
“Having seen the pictures of past exchanges stuck up in my Italian classroom I have been on the edge of my seat ever since I found out the name of my soon to be exchange student. After a few chaotic FaceTime calls and Google-translated WhatsApps (sorry Mr Rugna), we had a brief rundown of her favourite foods (pizza and pasta to no one’s surprise) and also that it was her first time in England! With this knowledge I got to work planning the best and broadest trip of England into two weeks. Once she had arrived I took her on a quick walk around my village, stopped for lunch, accompanied by the farm chickens and a cat, followed by a trip to Co-op to pick up some snacks and breakfast.
Monday was her first taste of British school. Luckily we had Italian first to ease us in, though interrupted by the lockdown drill which we quickly explained was not usual! Throughout the week, Chiara had lessons ranging from doing experiments in Physics to parachute games in PE. I have discovered that there are varying differences between Italian and English schools, including school lunches, in that we have them. Though the initial introduction started out a bit rocky, things soon started to look up, and the discovery of our cafe paninis was seemingly revolutionary.
Chiara was given a tour of Oxford during the week, seeing Uni Parks, the Radcliffe Camera, Sheldonian Theatre and, of course, a stop at Oxford Souvenirs to buy something for family and friends, including a very cute teddy bear magnet! Friday conveniently aligned with the University of Cambridge Open Day. After a non-stop day of colleges, only breaking for a quick pizza stop, Chiara told us that although she loved the buildings and university, Oxford was definitely prettier. However, there was one more place on her mind – London.
Having asked Chiara what she would like to do in England, her response was “London, it is my dream”. I very much hope that London lived up to all your expectations! We took a brisk walk through Hyde Park, stopping at an unusually busy Buckingham Palace which I quickly realised was due to the time: 10.45am, Changing of the Guards! After that, we took a whistle stop tour of Trafalgar Square, Number 10, the London Eye, and then Leicester Square and Chinatown for some food.
I hope that Chiara has gained a broader understanding of British culture, and I look forward to doing the same in Naples. I have already learnt so much from her already and can’t wait to find out more.”