Bonding With my Italian Host Families


3 minutes

My first week in Italy on the Summer English Camp program was an orientation in Macerata, a town in the beautiful Marche region of eastern Italy. After sharing a hostel and connecting with the other participants, we traveled six hours to the northwestern coastal region of Ligure. Our host families were waiting to pick us up when we arrived and I was bit anxious to separate from the other English counselors.

The feeling didn’t last long though, as my host mom and dad were so welcoming! After a tour of their city, Sanremo, and some delicious gelato, I met their daughter and her family, with whom I bonded quickly.

My host family and I in Sanremo.
My host family and I in Sanremo.
Photo courtesy of Tara B.

The English camps end at 1 p.m., so participants have a lot of free time. Some afternoons we hung out together, soaking up the sun on a Mediterranean beach or exploring the area on our bikes. We spent other days with our respective host families, attending family functions, and learning local perspectives. Given our proximity to France, all our families brought us over the border at one point, which was really nice!

Enjoying the view of Monaco.
Enjoying the view of Monaco.
Photo courtesy of Tara B.

I have so many great memories with my host family in Sanremo, including riding bikes with my host mom and breakfasts at the downstairs café with my host dad. When I visited the area in August after my program, the café owners remembered my order!

Riding bikes in beautiful Riva Ligure.
Riding bikes in beautiful Riva Ligure.
Photo courtesy of Tara B.

After two weeks with my Sanremo family, it was time to say goodbye and meet my second host family in Falconara, a resort area on the Adriatic Coast. Melissa, another participant, stayed with the same family. We lived in their guesthouse and woke each morning to the rising sun over the ocean; it was beautiful!

After camp, the other counselors and I often went to the beach. Many times our host siblings joined us, which was a lot of fun. Some of my fondest memories are these afternoons at the beach, along with my trip to Sirolo with fellow participants and trips with my host family to Senigallia and Assisi.

Celebrating the 4th of July on the beach in Falconara!
Celebrating the 4th of July on the beach in Falconara!
Photo courtesy of Tara B.

My absolute favorite memories, however, are the dinners I shared with my host families. While dining in my Sanremo family’s eclectic home or on their daughter’s ocean-view terrace, we shared stories and laughs, especially when we had to use Google Translate for clarifications.

My host dad in Falconara often jammed on his guitar while we ate and one night we had a very entertaining conversation about American versus Italian animal sounds. I believe our conversations and time spent together during dinner is what brought us close together.

A beautiful sunset in Sanremo.
A beautiful sunset in Sanremo.
Photo courtesy of Tara B.

I enjoyed the hostel the first week of the program, but living with a host family gives you a much better sense of Italian culture. I’m lucky to have two Italian second families now. I was so sad to leave them (I cried each time I left!), but both reminded me, “You always have a place here.” We still keep in touch and I can’t wait to visit again!

Tara B. Tara B.

Tara participated in InterExchange's Summer English Camp Italy program.

Summer English Camp Italy
Summer English Camp Italy

Explore Italy and help Italian youth become conversational English speakers.

Sign Up Learn More
U.S. Department of State-Designated J-1 Visa Sponsor
Alliance for International Exchange
Exclusive partner of the Erasmus Student Network for J-1 Visa sponsorship of internships in the U.S.
European-American Chamber of Commerce New York
Generation Study Abroad
Global Ties U.S.
International Au Pair Association
WYSE Travel Confederation