Alice vs America

Exchange student from Italy joins RHS


Junior Alice running for cross country in the fall.

Alice Santinello – a 17 year old girl from Padova city in Northern Italy – is experiencing her junior year at RHS, bringing joy to many people, and trying new activities throughout her year in the US.
“I did cross country and I want to do rowing,” Santinello said. “ I’m also doing conditioning for track this winter.”
Many people were shocked to hear about Alice joining the cross country team and how fast of a learner she was.
“Alice was a very fast learner, she surprised me everyday,” Vasquez said. “She was able to catch on to what we were explaining to her.”
In the fall, Alice was able to meet a bunch of new people while running cross country for the first time.
“Working with Alice was incredible, she brought a unique aspect to the team,” Cross Country assistant coach Estevan Vasquez said. “She made a lasting impact on me, both Coach Davis, Coach Thackery, and the team.”
Many people around Alice are always trying to include her in new things and make her as comfortable as possible.
“I tried to include her in all of the activities as much as possible,” Vasquez said. “Four seniors Aubrey Migoski, Paige Chinavare, Noel Robertson and Alyssa Delong were great at including her in all the team bonding activities they did outside of the sport.”
Junior Kylie King and her parents Tiffany and Neil Abrahamson took in Alice this school year and are letting her see as much of Michigan as possible while including her in new family traditions.
“We took her up north to Traverse City; we took her ice skating, Red Wings game, and the Detroit Lions game,” King said. We had a big family Christmas party that we had and we included her in all of our family traditions.
Since being here in America Santinello has discovered the difference between American and Italian schools.
“We stay in school a lot compared to Italy, so life is so focused on school it’s just different,” Santinello said.
One of Alice’s favorite things to do in America is try a bunch of different foods that are popular here.
“I tried McDonalds, Wendys, and Buffalo Wild Wings,” Santinello said. “My favorite fast food place is Starbucks. I’ve had it a few times and it’s really good.”
Santinello has met new people and has been introduced to many new things about American culture.
“I’ve met a lot of people I have no idea because yeah it’s been a lot of people,” Santinello said. “Just because I’m from Italy I feel like a lot of people know me.”
Santinello has been able to share her culture and traditions with other people.
“My favorite part about having her around was that I got a chance to understand and hear her story about herself and what she has experienced,” Vasquez said.
Alice has been people about her culture and family traditions and in addition she is a great person to be around.
“She is super nice and funny and I really like learning new things about her culture and traditions,” King said.
Santinello is not looking forward to the date June 20th that is resulting on when she has to go back it Italy.
“I don’t want to think about going back, I’m happy here and would like to stay here forever,” Santinello said. “I miss my family and friends a lot but I found a place where I feel good about myself.”
While discovering American culture, schools are showing her a dramatic difference from home.
“Pep rally and the spirit week before homecoming was really fun,” Santinello said. “I played the piggy back game and I had a lot of fun.”
In the fall, Alice was able to meet a bunch of new people while running cross country for the first time.
According to other’s Santinello has brought them joy and is making her time here in America count.
“It’s really nice living with Alice because I’m an only child,” King said. “It’s really nice for me to have a sibling for the first time.”
However since Alice is from a different background it sometimes can be hard for her to communicate with other people or do things in her classes.
“Sometimes it’s difficult to understand so I have to use google translate, and sometimes I don’t understand everything very well,” Santinello said.
Since being here Santinello has been able to find things here in America that Italy does not typically have .
“I like candy stores because I love candy,” Santinello said. They [America] have a lot of brands here that we don’t have in Italy.
Since being here Santinello has met people and been introduced to so many new things about American culture.
“I’ve met a lot of people, I have no idea because yeah it’s been a lot of people,” Santinello said. “Just because I’m from Italy I feel like a lot of people know me.”
Alice was able to attend her first homecoming because in Italy she does not get to have an actual dance.
“We don’t have any dances in Italy. This was my first homecoming and it was very fun,” Santinello said.
Santinello has gotten the opportunity to be able to take new and different classes she has not experienced before.
“It [Broadcasting] is a creative class I really like to record and edit,” Santinello said. “It is helping me a lot with learning English.”
Before going home Santinello is hoping to do as much as she can before it’s too late.
“One of the things I would really like to do this year is lip sync,” Santinello said. “I hope it doesn’t get canceled because of Covid because it would be really fun.”
Being from a different country and learning new things could be hard for Alice. Getting good grades here has never been too hard for her.
“I think it’s easier to get good grades,” Santinello said. “If you do your homework and pay attention in class it’s not really hard at all.”
Kylie and Alice have built a strong relationship and with that they are able to have a sibling type bond but still balance their own friends and hobbies.
“It’s awesome to have a sibling and we do have our separate time and different friend groups,” King said. “It’s nice to be able to have someone when we both need each other.”
Alice has grown to build a good relationship with both Kylie and her parents.
“I have a good relationship with my family here,” Santinello said. “They are completely different from me, I am a very active person and they like to be at home.”
King has discovered a really strong bond with Alice and when she leaves it will be very hard to get used to being the only child again.
“We have gotten really close and I’m definitely going to be really sad when she leaves,” King said. “I have gotten so used to having another sibling.”
Alice has found herself going to certain stores so that she can get American clothes and feel like she fits in.
“I really like American Eagle because we don’t have any in Italy,” Santinello said. “Here they sell American clothes and it’s a style we don’t have in Italy and it’s really cool.”
Even though Santinello is not really looking forward to going back to Italy, there is something she is really looking forward to doing when she gets back.
“A good reason why I want to go back to Italy is the Italian food,” Santinello said. “That is one of things that I miss the most.”