Hector Ismael Borghetto is attending the fourth year at the Art Institute of Calcagnadoro in Rieti but for a year he has studied in Zhengzhou, in China and he has returned with a very clear idea: “And who can stay in Italy anymore? I am going to enroll at the Oriental Languages Faculty at University and as soon as possible I am going to move to China. ”
Federica Bianchi has returned to her high school Marconi in Parma after six months in Potharam and she can now speak Thai; Edward Matteuzzi has left the scientific school Pontorno in Florence for Kazan in Russia; Cittone Carolina, has come back from Ahmedabad in India, and she returned to the scientific Severi in Milano “with an extra push.” Andrea Santangelo, after three months in Ottawa, has found his Liceo Classico Garibaldi of Palermo occupied by students as most of the colleges in Italy in the fight against the Reform of the minister Gelmini and when he thinks that his “brother” from Canada, arriving in Italy for a three months stay, is going to attend an Italian school in a classroom without windows in an old building without good facilities and no gym to play sports, he feels a bit ashamed ‘. “Mitchel – he says – has seen the photos of my school and was impressed, he asked me what the Italian government invests in. In Canada, everything is different: the schools have unlimited funds and services for the students and the system works in a way that each student builds his own path, he turns immediately to a specialty, he has the opportunity to apply what he studied. It is a rewarding education system which encourages students to try their best. Even for this when I came back to Italy I thought it was worth fighting for our school which is so mortified. “
Here are the children of the ever-growing vanguard of Italian students, aged between 16 and 18 years, who they prepare their suitcases already in high school, anticipating the times of the university placements across the border in other countries. The number of kids who choose to leave Italian schools in their fourth year, (when lessons are the least complex), to follow the programs offered by organizations such as Intercultura, Wep, Comenius, are growing more and more. The new trend is for a long period of studying, from a minimum of three months to a full year, in other continents, ranging from North America to Australia and, surprisingly, increasingly in Asia. These experiences go far beyond the study of languages and their purpose is to students to meet other students and other educational models of education.
Some numbers – in 2010, 4200 high school students chose to attend schools abroad: of 1383 students who left with Intercultura, 53% chose to stay out for the entire school year, 39% chose the three-month program and 8% the six months one. The figures are in net growth from year to year. For 2011, ten thousand departures are expected . But the real surprise is the new trend of the most popular destinations like Asia: from China to India to Russia. In high demand also the countries of South America while there is a drop of requests for the traditional destinations like the United States and Australia, which still remain on top of the ranking.
To enable the students to go abroad in high school, Italian families have to put their hands in their pockets in a regular manner: a three-month program costs at least 6 or 7 thousand euros, which doubles if you choose the whole year, although in 2010 70 % of children who left with a high merit has received some sort of scholarships.
Students are accommodated in families and attend public or private schools, attending courses of study as close as possible to their own Unfortunately Italian professors do not always support them: the most enlightened follow them via computer to help them keep up with subjects in the Italian curriculum and then when they return to Italy they can recover with a supplementary examination. The Italian legislation provides for the recognition of studies abroad. “We don’t want nerds, but guys with good profit and who have many interests – says Stephen Ruffino, animator of Intercultura – every year we are able to provide scholarships for 4 to 5 million euro. The principle is to get out of the cage. These kids understand that to build their future is no longer enough for them to master their world, but one must know the others with whom he lives side by side. ”
Ettore Borghetto, for example, after a year in China, does not want his world any more. “I will go away as soon as possible. That is the new power, the great culture, technology, modernity. There you build your future at school, from dawn to evening, having a university relationship with your professors, under constant review. That’s the school of merit. “.