Italian student exchange program begins in St. Louis

Jul 31, 2018 1259

BY: Michael Cross

La Comunita' degli Italiani - St Louis, the central organization which represents Italians in the St Louis metropolitan region, has partnered with the CIEE Study Abroad program to initiate a high-school exchange for Italian students. Lucrezia Leandri and Sara Vanetti, the very first Italian students, arrived excitedly on Friday, July 27th. Their host families Riccardo and Jessica Hayes and Jeremy and Katrina Bass greeted the girls with a warm welcome at St Louis Lambert International Airport.  

The two exchange students will stay with their host families for nine months and attend local high schools. They are eager to learn more about life in the United States as well as cook delicious meals for their host families they said. Lucrezia and Sara are also excited to help with the community's Gran Festa di Ferragosto which will be held on Saturday, August 11th at Shaw Park.   

Coordinator of the program, Celia Balint, mentioned how welcoming the Italian community has been to young Italians, and especially to exchange students who come to St Louis. In the past two years, the community has seen a major increase in numbers with mostly young people coming directly from Italy to study and find jobs. Many young Italians attend major universities in the St Louis metropolitan region and some work in the St Louis start-up community downtown which has gained national as well as international attention in recent years. 

So many young Italians have come to St Louis in the past five years that a new club Giovani Italiani Saint Louis was formed in April of this year. The club is part of the central organization La Comunita' degli Italiani - St Louis which works directly with the World Trade Center - St Louis and the Italian Consulate in Chicago as well as Fucsia Nissoli, the main representative for all Italians in North and Central America.  


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