Studying Abroad in Amityville

Studying Abroad in Amityville photo
A love of language brought Letizia Cazzaniga nearly 4,000 miles from Milan, Italy to Amityville Memorial High School. The senior said she is thoroughly enjoying her year as a foreign exchange student and her immersion in American culture.

Growing up in Italy with a mother from Lebanon, she learned to speak both Italian and Arabic as a child. Since then, her linguistic interests have grown and Letizia is now fluent in five languages including English, French and Spanish, along with a little Portuguese.  

“I really like languages,” she said. “Being here and studying here for a year is good for my skills.”

Several of her courses foster her language development including dystopian literature, journalism, college French and Advanced Placement Spanish. She is taking algebra, plays the violin for the orchestra and sings in the chorus. Letizia was excited to participate in the winter concerts. She noted that schools in Italy typically do not have instrumental music instruction.

She said two differences about going to high school in the United States are the earlier start time and changing classes. There is also a greater emphasis on critical thinking while in Italy the focus is learning material and studying for tests. When she returns home, she will have one more year of high school remaining. Letizia hopes to attend college in Paris or the Netherlands and said possible majors include architecture or interior design.

Her host family in Amityville and the students at the high school have been very welcoming, she said. Letizia spent much of her holiday break visiting sights in New York City including the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Christmas tree and World Trade Center memorial site. She has also been to Washington, D.C. and North Carolina since her arrival. 

While she misses her family and friends in Milan, Letizia said she is able to stay in contact with them through telephone and Facetime. Family members who live in Texas have come to New York to visit her. 

“We are very pleased that Letizia decided to spend the year with us here in Amityville,” Principal Maria Andreotti said. “We have amazing programs and activities at the high school and are happy Letizia will get the share those experiences with our students. Through knowing her, students are learning more about Italy, and, as an Italian-American myself, I take great pride in that as well.”