Rome to the Woodlands


Beth Verghese, Writer

Coming to a new school can be very daunting, especially one with almost 4400 kids from 9th to 12th grade. However, the process was even more intimidating for foreign exchange student, Manuela Teti. 


Manuela Teti, from Rome, Italy, started her journey at the Woodlands High School as an 11th grader on August 14th, 2019. 


While exchange programs are something most students from the Woodlands aren’t familiar with, for Teti, they were always something she has wanted to do. 


“In Italy, it’s very popular to go and do the [foreign exchange] program. Since the start of highschool I would always ask, last year my parents finally said yes!” Teti said. 


Teti left all her family and friends in Rome, and traveled to Houston, Texas to begin her journey at an American high school. Although, the process to get here wasn’t simple. 


“You pay a lot of money, lots of money, and you can choose the state. I chose California, Florida, and Texas, because I want the heat. But the family chose me, and I chose to come for one year.” Teti said. “ I wanted 12th grade, but they told me I can’t graduate here, so they put me in junior, but I follow some classes of seniors.”


Even though Teti is not related to the family she stays in, she will spend the next year with her host family.


“I wanted to leave Rome, everything. I thought – America is perfect!” Teti said. “ I live with the family of the Brenners.” 


Although Teti is also a student, life as a high schooler in Italy is very different to one of an American student. 


“[In Italy] We can choose the subjects we study, where as here you have to learn everything.” Teti said. “After middle school you choose a specific high school, that has a focus on certain subjects. I’m in the scientific high school, so I do a lot of maths, physics, science, that stuff. But also Latin, English, and Italian.”


Not only is the curriculum different, but also the teachers and the environment are different as well. 


“[The kids are] less focused here! They think [more] about sports. There is a lot more wasted time. In Italy, there’s always homework, but we don’t care [about it]!” Teti said. “ The teachers are very nice, ours our really strict, like really!” 


Homesickness may occur for most foreign exchange students, however, for Teti, she would be glad to stay in Texas for longer!


“Not homesick- zero! I’m glad to stay here!”