Angel Villalobos

Outside of America, Puccia has traveled to Switzerland, France, Spain, and England.

Meet Chiara Puccia from Italy

Get to know Italian exchange student Chiara Puccia, who has enjoyed her time in the U.S.

Welcome to “Walk in their shoes”, a column where we showcase our foreign exchange students and their homes throughout the year.

Chiara Puccia (‘24) was born in Sardinia, Italy – which she affectionately referred to as “the island in the middle of nowhere” – and “was kind of raised everywhere” in Italy. She grew up in Sicily but also spent time in Tuscany and Elba with her grandparents.

For Puccia, traveling “has always been a part of [her] life”. She’s visited many countries, explaining that traveling in Europe from country to country is like traveling from state to state in the U.S.

When it came to being a foreign exchange student, movies like High School Musical inspired Puccia; just like that, she proposed the idea to her family.

She was unsure at first, but her family encouraged her to take the leap.

“I wanted to try something new, something for my growth,” she said. And the experience has done just that. Puccia “has grown so much as a person” during her time here.

When picking where she wanted to stay, Puccia knew she wanted somewhere with weather she wasn’t used to living on an island coast. She’s enjoyed seeing the mountains and shared she’s definitely built up a tolerance to the cold.

In Italy, Puccia is finishing four of five years of linguistics school, the subject she chose to study. She’s fluent in Italian and English, can understand Spanish, and is studying Russian and Chinese.

Part of the English proficiency certification she’s working to get is grammar. “Here I discovered you guys don’t really use grammar [all the time],” she said and laughed over this unexpected finding.

“Speaking another language everyday – it’s a lot,” Puccia shared. “I remember the first couple of weeks… [it] was so hard to speak English and not have a headache.”

Along with the challenging language, being away from her family has been difficult. “Sometimes you just want a hug from your… parents,” she said. But, she continued, this shouldn’t stop anyone. Puccia advised that as a foreign exchange student it’s important focus on the culture you’re immersed in; don’t think about life back at home as much.

The American school system gives students an opportunity to explore and decide what they want to do, which Puccia believes “prepares you more for life” than subject schools in Italy do.

“I’ve seen a lot of classes that in Italy we can’t even dream of,” she said. Classes like ceramics and team sports like dance and cheer aren’t a reality at her school in Italy.

One of the first things she did when paired with her host family was ask if a dance or cheer team was at the high school. The day after she flew into Colorado, she tried out and made the MHS dance team. She shared that while being on the team, “the feeling of a football or basketball game is [exciting].” Joining the dance team was “one of the best decisions [she’s] made here.”

Another big part of her time at Mead has been theater. It’s helped her balance her academics and has “become a family” with the other theater students. 

“You create a lot of relationships [through theater],” Puccia said.

Once back home, Puccia plans to finish school and apply to work as an airport crew member. She has many ideas for her future, but is currently leaning towards working in writing and communications as a journalist.

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