Foreign exchange student shows his husky spirit

Photo+by+junior+Kaisa+Menkhaus.+
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Foreign exchange student shows his husky spirit

Photo by junior Kaisa Menkhaus.

Photo by junior Kaisa Menkhaus.

Photo by junior Kaisa Menkhaus.

Photo by junior Kaisa Menkhaus.

A student’s first day of school can be nerve-wracking, but even more so when moving to a new school and a new country.

“I moved here in August from Italy,” senior Nico Nicotra said.

Nictora left his hometown of Catania, Italy over the summer. He moved to North Carolina just days before school had started.

Before landing in Huntersville, he initially visited New York to meet with members of the exchange student program Education First (EF).

His process of becoming an exchange student started almost two years ago in the fall.

“It’s a very long process actually,” Nicotra said. “There were so many forms to fill out on information about myself, my interests, and just everything about me.”

In addition to the forms, Nicotra had to write a letter and record a video for potential host families to watch. The families interested in hosting reviewed the hundreds of videos and letters that all of the exchange students submitted. They then chose between the multitude of students and decide who they will welcome into their family for the time being. The schools also had a role in this process as they had to review the applications and accept the students.

His host family has greeted him with a warm welcome and wanted him to make the most out of his time here as an exchange student.

“I love them a lot,” Nictora said.

His family includes his host parents and two younger siblings, ages three and five.

Nicotra has made many strong bonds with the people he has met and has become active in the school,  joining clubs such as Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) and the Red Cross club.

“I also joined the swim team,” Nicotra said. “I try to do everything I can at this school. If anyone asks me to do anything I will be there.”

He has attended several school events including the Husky Hustle, the HOSA states competition, Special Olympics, sports games, and practically any school event he is able to make it to.

Nicotra said he misses his family and friends in Italy, “but most of all I miss the food.” With Italy being notorious for its dishes, it can be understood why food is on the top of Nicotra’s list of things he misses.  

He plans to return to Italy for his last year of high school this summer.

“I’m going to miss this school and my friends the most [when I return home],” Nicotra said.

He describes this year as the best time of his life so far and is grateful for EF for making his experience possible.