Getting to Know CHS’s AFS Student


Photo courtesy of Sarah Kopf Photography

Silvia Usai has traveled all the way from Italy to spend the year as part of the CHS community.

Isabell Kopf

This year, CHS has the privilege of providing a fun, exciting experience to one foreign exchange student through the AFS program. Silvia Usai is from Legnano, Italy. I sat down and talked with her about her background and her thoughts about her year in Chilton thus far.

Q: Where are you from?
S: I come from Italy. My city, Legnano, is outside Milan.

Q: What is your hometown like?
S: It has 60,000 people. And it is completely different from Chilton. It has a lot of apartments, churches, small parks and some tall buildings. There is a river right in the middle of the city, kind of like Chilton.

Q: Who is a part of your birth family? Who is a part of your host family?
S: My mom, Daniela; my father, Fabio; and my brother, Federico. He is 18. I’m hosted by the Diedrichs — Amanda, Jay, Julia and Bethany.

Q: What are some things that are very different here than back home?
S: I’ve noticed that American families eat their meals really fast, and they almost never use a knife to cut food. Driving through Wisconsin I got to see deer, which is almost impossible in Italy because they usually don’t stand at the end of the road. I don’t know if it’s an American thing or it is just in my house, but my bed is very tall. I literally have to jump to sit on it. The American teachers are really young. My teachers are like 40-50 years old, sometimes even older.

Q: What’s the weirdest thing you have seen so far?
S: The weirdest thing so far is that when you go to buy a pizza, they don’t cook it for you — just get a frozen pizza then.

Q: What do you hope to get out of your experience? What made you decide you wanted to become a foreign exchange student?
S: I wanted to be an exchange student because I wanted to leave Italy and go overseas. I really wanted to do a long trip that kind of changed my life, away from my family and my friends. I’m an introverted person. So I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy because of who I am, but I felt like I wanted to change that side of my personality and try to be more open to people. I think I will grow up a lot during this year — become more independent, meet a lot of new people. And I’m hoping I will figure out what I want to do after school.