From Bunbury to Milan, an adventure of a lifetime

Briana FioreSouth Western Times
Bunbury Catholic College's Head of Languages Laura Whitfield reflects on the school’s cultural immersion program to Italy with students Hayley Lowe and Miriam Bertola.
Camera IconBunbury Catholic College's Head of Languages Laura Whitfield reflects on the school’s cultural immersion program to Italy with students Hayley Lowe and Miriam Bertola. Credit: Briana Fiore/Harvey-Waroona Reporter/Briana Fiore

Two Bunbury Catholic College students trekked 13,000km to Italy as part of an exciting cultural exchange program.

Year 12 Italian students Miriam Bertola and Hayley Lowe have just returned from a two-month cultural immersion experience in Milan.

The girls described the trip as an adventure of a lifetime.

“I loved the history, architecture and food in Italy, it is so different from Australia and we had pasta everyday which was amazing,” Hayley said.

The pair studied at the Istituto Salesiano Sant'Ambrogio in Milan and stayed with Italian-speaking host families to improve their language skills and improve their understanding of the Italian culture.

Miriam said she had strong ties to the country because her grandfather was from Sondrio, in the northern part of Italy.

“I initially studied Italian because of my heritage, however, I just found the language so interesting so I continued to pursue it,” Miriam said.

While in Italy, Hayley said she stayed with a family in Gorgonzola and she believed immersion was the best way to learn a language.

“Learning Italian whilst living with a family in Italy was so advantageous, my Italian has improved so much,” Hayley said.

The two Ferguson Valley girls said they have both been studying Italian since primary school and were preparing for their Italian WACE exams this year.

They also said Italian was their favourite subject at school.

Bunbury Catholic College Head of Languages and Italian teacher Laura Whitfield said she was proud of the girls.

“Cultural immersion experiences are so important because students can practice speaking Italian in every moment,” Mrs Whitfield said.

She said the program had proven to be a success, with two Year 12 students from the 2019 class, Lachlan Brown and Matthew Clarke, finishing in the top 10 per cent of all WA schools in Italian.

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