Intercultura (AFS) Camp!

Over this weekend I got to go to an Intercultura (AFS) camp! It was so amazing and I had so much fun! My host parents drove me to Novara (about 45 minutes away from Angera) on Sunday, where I met a few other exchange students. Then we took an hour long train ride to Turin (Torino), and then a bus ride to the hotel. There were a total of 51 exchange students from all around the world! I got to meet people from almost all of the continents, and only 6 of us were from the USA! It was so incredible meeting all of these people because they all had such different stories to tell. Everyone could speak english which was nice. It felt good to speak my native language again and take a break from Italian. It was so funny to listen to everyone talk because they all had different accents!

The first night of the camp, everyone gathered in one room and played games to get to know each other. We played “Bang”(?), where everyone stands in a circle, and one person in the middle points to someone and shouts “bang!” and that means the two people next to that person has to shoot each other. Whoever shoots first wins and the other has to sit down. There are other components of the game such as shouting “washing machine!” or “hot dog!” so it got pretty confusing. Everyone got really into the game though so it was super fun and intense. We played it Monday night as well, and I was one of two people to go to the final round! I was proud of myself :) We also played a game where we had to try to kiss each other on the cheek. That got pretty intense too.

On Monday we woke up at about 7:30, ate breakfast, and then went for a walk in Turin. It was a beautiful day and it felt nice to walk outside to get some fresh air for the fresh new day. Then we went back to the hotel and split up into groups of about 15 people each. My group was the yellow group. In our groups we talked about our experiences in Italy so far and any problems we might be having with our host families. It was pretty helpful to talk to other exchange students to get their opinions on certain matters. It was also fun to here their stories about unusual/funny things that happened to them so far. We found that many of us have experienced the same things already! Then we had a pasta lunch with fish, and then free time for a bit. During the free time is when I bonded with other students the most. We would go out on the balcony and talk, play games, teach each other native dances from our countries. We would always play this game called “Werewolf,” which is the same as “Mafia” but with different characters involved. Instead of the mafia there are werewolves. Instead of the angel there is a witch. There are other characters like “the one who can see everything,” “the hunter,” “Romeo and Juliet,” and “the little girl” (who I still have no idea what she does haha). After free time we went back to our groups and talked some more. Then we had dinner and played games again, and then went to bed at about 11:30.

Tuesday morning we woke up the same time, ate breakfast, and split up into our groups again. This time we talked about school and the differences between Italian school and school in our native countries. There are so many differences! And it was really fun to hear about schools in other countries as well. After that we had lunch, and then free time to practice for the talent show that night. We all had to be in it, and we all had to prepare something for it. We had the choice of doing anything for the talent show, so people prepared dances, skits, music, ext. It was extremely hard for the U.S. students to come up with anything because we don’t really have a native dance or a native talent that we’re known for, so we decided to team up with a Turkish girl and learn a Turkish dance. It was pretty successful in the end because the dance looked super cool, and a whole bunch of people joined in. The other talents were amazing too! My favorite talent was when some students from Thailand danced their native dance because they wore special clothing for it too. It looked really exotic and unique. I videotaped many of the talents before my phone died, so I can post them in my next youtube video. After the talent show, we all went up to the balcony and looked at the non-existent stars. Then we talked for a while, played games, learned Russian dances, and went to bed. I don’t think anyone wanted to leave the next morning, so we tried to savor the last day by staying up until 2 or 3am.

Today was a very sad day, because I had to say goodbye to all of my new exchange friends and go back to my Italian family. I love my family, but it was really really hard to leave my friends. It’s amazing how close I got with some of them in only three days. They are some of the most incredible people I have ever met. The next time I will see most of them is in June, but hopefully I will get together with some of them sooner than that. Until next time :)

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