Exchange student settles in with host family

September 7, 2018

LAUGHLIN — One Italian foreign exchange student in Laughlin is developing a taste for American culture.

Giorgia Malacarne is a student at Laughlin Junior Senior High School from Mantova, a town in northern Italy near Milan.

Her goal as an exchange student is to learn English because she believes it will improve her future prospects, she said. While she’s not clear on what she wants to do, being bilingual is important, she added.

“My English is not so good but I understand something,” Malacarne said.

Learning the language is not as difficult as having the confidence to use it, she continued.

Having to use another language all day is tiring, Malacarne said.

Language isn’t the only thing different for the Italian transplant, there are many differences to get used to, such as eating dinner earlier and the food itself.

“The times of the dinner is different,” Malacarne said. In Italy, dinner is eaten about 8:30 or 9 p.m. and in Laughlin, dinner has been eaten by 7 p.m.

It didn’t take long for Malacarne to decide pizza is better in Italy. She and her host father Craig Reisdorph laughed recalling an evening of trying out Papa Murphy’s pizza.

Malacarne shook her head and said “that is not pizza” referring to Reisdorph’s favorite, with Canadian bacon and pineapple.

“Pineapple shouldn’t go on pizza,” Malacarne said.

Aside from English and pizza, Malacarne wants to learn about American culture and make new friends, she said.

Right now, she’s focusing on adjusting to the differences.

Classes start earlier, the days are longer, and school is handled differently, Malacarne said.

In Italy, all students in a class change subjects as a group instead of individual students switching classes.

While that has been a little confusing for her, school seems more organized here, Malacarne said. There are more books and materials in Laughlin than in her school in Italy, she added.

She prefers the U.S. ability to use the Internet. The abundance of information online helps her to focus and learn, she said.

Then there’s the weather.

When Reisdorph and his family picked Malacarne up from the airport, the second the doors opened, there was this sound that came out of her, he recalled, but said she is acclimating.

Malacarne has adapted well to the chaos in the house with dogs and small children, Reisdorph laughed. The family found out early that Malacarne has a similar sense of humor so she fit right in, he added.

As for the family, Reisdorph said he and his wife had talked about wanting to host an exchange student for a while and the opportunity finally presented itself. It was a peculiar experience though because it’s a little like looking at a menu and deciding who would fit best, he continued.

“I think literally once she got off the plane at the airport, we saw her and started talking with her, we just knew this would be awesome,” Reisdorph said.

Each member of the family has had the chance to spend time with Malacarne and interact with her one on one and also as a family. It’s been really cool, Reisdorph added.

Everyone seems to be looking forward to how the experience will unfold throughout the school year. Malacarne is looking forward to experiencing holidays like Thanksgiving, she said.

And is looking forward to prom, she added.

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