Interview with teenage twins Mia and Cara
How would you describe the area you live in?
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.
We go to what would be classed as a technical college, where we’re learning computer graphic design, with compulsory work experience from the 3rd year to the 5th year (400 hours in total). At this school lessons are from 8:00 until 13:30 with two ten minute breaks, one at 10:00 and one at 12:30. We get the bus to school in the morning at 7:00 and are usually home by 14:20. We have a break and then start homeowrk around 16:00. From the age of 14 you have to choose a subject to specialise in and a school where you stay until the age of 19. There is an option to drop out at 16 without any qualifications. We’re very happy in this school, we have made great friends and lots of good memories.
Are there any other foreign students at your school?
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.
Do you feel you and your family are well integrated in local life?
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.
What benefits do you think you have gained from living and being educated in Italy? Or do you feel you have missed out by not being educated in the UK?
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. Everyday we have to study at least two hours at home because we have frequent 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.
What interests do you have outside of school?
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 because 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.
What do you plan to do after school?
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 U.K. as English is our preferred language.
What do you imagine you will be doing when you are 25 years old?
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 freinds 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’ve 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.
What 3 things do you love about living in Italy?
The best things are knowing two languages fluently, the food and having some great friends.