We live in a very small village called San Leo Bastia in the north of Perugia, with two bars, two mini-markets, a church, a pizzeria and lots of fields. The village is very isolated but as it’s so small the community is very sociable. There are lots of get-togethers at the church for birthdays or just to have fun, where everyone is invited.
One of the negative things about living in this tiny village is that there isn’t anything to do, the nearest and most popular place, Città di Castello, is half an hour away which has lots of parks, shops, restaurants and places to hang out.
When we’re at school and with friends we only speak Italian; at home, with our parents, we speak English. We both find it easier to express ourselves and think in English, even though we use Italian more throughout the day. We read and watch TV in English and as a result, are more comfortable with English.
The larger cities in Italy are very multicultural but there aren’t many foreign students in our school. There are a few Moroccan, Nigerian, Polish and Ecuadorian students and we’re very good friends with most of them.
As a family we are very well integrated, our parents have a few good friends in the village but all of our friends live at least half an hour away, it’s very hard to be integrated in a small village because the teenagers our age don’t like making new friends.
We have definitely gained benefits by living here. The fact of being bilingual and multicultural is something that will help us be more open-minded and will be very useful in our life, we also think the schooling system here is harder but much better. Every day we have to study at least two hours at home because we have frequently written tests and also oral questions on each chapter that we study. These continuous assessments are very important because if you fail more than three classes in an academic year you have to repeat the year.
We don’t do any after school activities, instead, we hang out with friends or stay at home and read or spend time with our parents, even if there are lots of things to do, such as volleyball, football, Zumba, music, swimming, basketball, gymnastics. We do like sports but the reason why we don’t do after school activities is that we’ve got a lot of studying and haven’t got much time to focus on other things. Studying is a priority at the moment.
We don’t have a career in mind but our dream has always been to travel. Neither of us knows if we want to go to university but it’s a possibility. If we did we would prefer to go in the UK as English is our preferred language.
We hope that by the time we’re 25 we’ll have a dream career and be able to spend time with family and friends. Our relationship with our parents is very different compared to most of our friends because most kids our age don’t like spending time with their family. But we’ve always had a very close relationship and we think that’s down to moving to Italy when we were young. We have always been a solid family unit. On Sunday’s if we’re not studying, we usually spend time with our parents – playing games, going out for a walk or just talking.
The best things are knowing two languages fluently, the food and having some great friends.