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Alison (Ali) Evans – Italy

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Name: Alison (Ali) Evans

Host Country: Italy

Host District: 2050

Host Club: Codogno

Sponsor Club: Granville

School: Granville High School

Ciao! Mi chiamo Ali. Hello! My name is Ali. I am a junior at Granville High School, and I will be traveling to Fombio, Italy for 10 months. Although I am not fluent in Italian I am eager to learn! I am being sponsored by my wonderful local host club: Granville! Granville is a amazing town to live in but my rotary club has enabled me to expand my horizons. In the US I enjoy spending time with family and friends and singing in my church choir. Going abroad has been a dream of mine ever since my sister went to Costa Rica with her Spanish class in 2012. She was able to try so many new things while staying there and I wished that I could have the same experience. I have also known many people who have gone abroad through rotary, including family members. The people I know that have traveled through rotary have learned new languages, seen new things, and changed into the person they want to be. I have seen how rotary can make people come out of their comfort zone and see the world in a completely new way, and it has been my dream to have that experience. Rotary has already introduced me to so many people and helped me try new things. I am so excited to be a part of this fantastic exchange!


October 1

It has been approximately one month since I arrived in Italy. The moment the plane took off from Columbus Ohio I knew that life would never be the same, but I had no idea what the journey would be like. The first people I met in the airport was my host family. I now have a host mom, dad, and sister. I also have a host dog named Wiston who is one of the sweetest dogs I have ever met.ali-octpic1

I have been presented with so many opportunities since coming here that I would have never imagined had it not been for rotary. I have traveled to Milan and seen the Duomo, and I have traveled to Saló and seen the Isola Del Guarda. Just a few days ago I had the opportunity to travel to Sardinia for three days.


I am also learning Italian faster than I ever thought possible. I am meeting with an Italian tutor on a semi weekly basis and she is helping me learn so much. She not only teaches me the language but she also teaches me about her experiences in Italy and how to understand the culture.

I’m so glad to be here and I’m excited for all of the adventures that await me. I already have so many stories to tell and memories to keep and I am so excited to make more. This past month has been an adventure and I never want it to end. Italy is the most beautiful country I have ever seen and I’m going to be seeing a lot more of it in these next months! I’m so incredibly lucky to have his opportunity.

Thank you so much,












November 1

It has been nearly two months since I arrived in Fombio Italy, and in these short months I have seen more than I would have in a year in the United States. This past month I also celebrated my 17 birthday in Italy and I was able to spend it with my new Italian friends. The friends I have made, I can already tell, will be friends for life. I have also been learning the language faster than I ever thought I would.

This past weekend I traveled to Florence and Pisa and saw many famous and historical buildings. I also traveled to recently Cremona where I celebrated Halloween with some of my exchange friends. Many of the buildings in Italy are much older than America and I am really glad I have the opportunity to leave America and experience these ancient places. Also Halloween was one of the first holidays I have celebrated while in Italy and it was very interesting to see how differently they celebrate. Being able to see and experience these new things has sparked an interest in me about new cultures.

On the fourth of October I turned 17. At first it was very hard for me because I knew that I would not be able to celebrate it the way I used to in America, but when the day came I realized that being able to celebrate in a new way was a blessing. On the day of my birthday I went out to dinner with my host family who bought a cake and sang happy birthday to me. Then on the following Saturday, my host family threw me a little party with all of the friends of my host sister who live in my city. Although I was unable to spend my birthday with my family I was able to spend it with friends, and I am very grateful for that.

In the past month I have grown closer and closer with the friends I have made. I has learned a lot more about them and they have learned a lot more about me. The language barrier has been hard but recently it has been getting easier because I have a much better understanding of the language. These friends have helped me whenever I didn’t understand, and when I needed help. I am so incredibly grateful that I have people around me who are kind to me and treat me like one of their own.

These past months have been full of memories that I will never forget. I will never forget the friends I have made and the things that I have seen in these months. Being in Italy for just two months has been the experience of a lifetime and very excited to see what the rest of my exchange brings. I have been able to do all of these things because of rotary and I could not be more thankful!

January 1

After spending four months in this beautiful country it is starting to feel like home. Spending the holidays here in Italy has been so wonderful. It is amazing to see different traditions and cultures and how they celebrate. Although it is hard being away for the holidays, I think that celebrating in Italy was like celebrating at my home away from home.
Waking up on Christmas morning to presents from my host family was the moment that I knew that I wasn’t away from home for the holidays because now my home is here. I spent Christmas with all of my host family’s relatives who now feel like an extension of my family. One of the traditions I noticed here in Italy is that they never stop eating on Christmas. They spend the whole day eating with family and it was wonderful.
I also spent New Years here in Italy this month and it was so much fun! I spent the night with my friends at a pizzeria. After the countdown we stayed up late just having fun. In America I usually go to bed soon after the ball drops and I don’t usually spend the night with friends. This is a tradition that I would be happy to take back home with me.
Although I do miss my family, I know that when I come home I will be able to celebrate with them again. Now, however, I know that this is my only chance to experience celebrations in a different country and I want to make the most of it. I am so glad to have been given the chance to experience these traditions and I am looking forward to learning more.
February 1
I cannot believe that I am now halfway done with my exchange. It feels like just yesterday that I stepped off the plane and started my journey. When signing up for exchange i knew that it would change my life but I had no idea that it would have this much of an effect on me. I have done so many things and I have the next half of my exchange to do so many more. This month I traveled to Milan to see friends and go shopping, and I also celebrated the Italian holiday of the witch. This month was very important too because I met my new host family for the first time. They seem so sweet and I can’t want to get to know them more. But because I am changing host families, I have to change schools as well. This is bitter sweet because I love to meet new people and make friends but I will be leaving behind the friends I already made. However, I know that they will not be far away and the memories that I have made with them will be with me forever. Although I will miss all of the people I have met thus far, I am very excited to spend the rest of the year with new people.
March 1
This month has been one of the best of my entire exchange. I moved and I could not be happier with my new family. They are so sweet and make me feel right at home. I started my new school and started making friends right away. I also have been able to go out a lot with the friends that I have made and I have been having such a good time with them. This past weekend my host family also took me to Tuscany where we visited their house there and traveled to see many of the region. I also now really enjoy going to school in Italy. I am going to an art school now where I can learn about art, history, and so much more. I can also finally follow the lessons and I am now learning so much more. My language skills have been improving faster than ever as well, and I feel comfortable having lengthy conversations in Italian. I am having the experience of a lifetime and I am learning so much while doing it and I have rotary to thank.
April 1 
Just a few days ago I looked at my phone and it said that I only had 100 days left in Italy. This has been such and amazing journey and somewhere along the way I forgot that at some point I would have to go home. Every month when I write these letters I realize that I have learned new things, seen new places, and met new people. Just this past month I was able to see Bergamo with my host family where we then took a tram up to Bergamo alto and saw the beauty of the city. I also spent a day in Venice with the other exchange students in my district where we walked up and down the canals and attended a glass blowing demonstration. The best part of this month, however, is the fact that I finally feel like I am a part of the culture and that this is where I belong. I am so thankful to have been sent to this wonderful country.
May 1

After this month, with full confidence, I can say that I am in love with Italy. Not because of its beauty or its food and not even because of the language, but because it became my home. Not only has Italy become my second home, but my host family has become an extension of my own family.

This month, however, I didn’t just fall in love with Italy, I saw more of it as well. I was able to travel through Tuscany with my host family and my French friend. There we saw many of the famous cities that make Italy what it is. With Rotary we went to Verona where we saw Juliet’s balcony and ate lunch by the river. Then, on Easter break I went to Gardaland with some friends to ride rides and play games. Tomorrow I will be traveling to Rome for the first time for four days with rotary and I am excited to see all the wonderful things Rome has to offer.

I hate to say that these next two months will be my last here in Italy, but I am happy to say that I will make them the best ones yet.