Jasmin Latief (INA AFS to ITA YP 18–19)

Ciao! My name is Jasmin and I’m an exchange student from Indonesia to Italy. It’s been 2 months since I’m leaving my home country. Being far from home, family, and comfort zone. Here, I learn a lot of new things. I learn about the culture, the people, the history, the art, the food, and after all, I learn about myself.

I arrived to my host family in the evening, and we have dinner together for the first time. We ate pizza and everyone has their own pizza, which means I have to finish a full size of it! It was my first time and I can tell you I was really full.

The next day We went to a lake near from house, spending time together. I think it’s a part of Italian culture that they like to spend time together with the family, since family is the first value. My family goes to mountain almost every weekend, to do rock climbing. We go by car, stop in a bar to take coffee, and then hike up to the mountain. In Italy, bar is not the same as bar in America or other countries, bar is like a coffee shop. There are hot drinks, chocolate, and some breads.

First day of school! It was amazing. Everyone is approaching me in the class. I was a bit insecure that time because I was the only Muslim in the class and the only person who wears hijab in the school, but when I see their excitement to meet me, it’s all gone. They’re all welcoming me to be a part of their class. First days, most of the time we talk with translator or body language because I can’t speak Italian yet, and they can’t really speak English.

I do artistic school here, meanwhile in Indonesia I do the scientific one, because one of the reason I choose Italy is to learn about their history and art. I thought it would be so challenging, and it does! It was my first time do the “real drawing” and sculpture! Another new subjects are philosophy, art history, Europe history, and Italian. We went to museums for school trip 2 times by this time. The art history teacher explains and after that we have to draw things inside the museum.

My birthday is only one week after my first day of school. I’m turning 17 this year. I wasn’t expecting anything from anyone since I only know them for a week. That day goes normally as the other day, but on the second break time, I was sitting on my chair… then some of my classmates come inside and give a surprise! A very big birthday cake! I was shocked. They’re all singing happy birthday in Italian to me. At night, I eat pizza outside with my host family to celebrates me and my host grandfather’s birthday.

In my chapter, I meet another 5 exchange students. Astrid from Sweden, Ingeborg and Emilio from Norway, Goretti from Mexico, and Pai from Thailand. We go to the same Italian course 3 times a week, and We like to hang out together. It’s fun to make friends with people from all over the world in a place that’s new for us. We’ve been through the same hard situations, problems, and different cultures.

I have a special friend from Nigeria. My mom runs a childcare and I made friend with one of the mother. Her name is Lora and her baby is Sofia. They’re an immigrant. I’m happy to know her because she can speak English well and she’s a very good person. We like to take a walk together after school and share stories. Don’t be surprised, she’s only 19 years old and her baby is 2 years old. She lives beside a family from Morocco, and this family is Muslim. I made friend with the children and they become my first Muslim friends!

These are my stories of my first 2 months here. It’s not always easy, but it’s not always hard. I’m still adapting too. Anyway, I make videos on YouTube. You can check by searching my Youtube channel: Jasmin Latief!