Six lucky students (and their chaperoning teacher) from Saint Joseph of Cupertino School (SJC) were the first to participate in the inaugural sister city exchange program between Cupertino, California and Copertino, Italy.
The eighth graders’ adventure started during Easter Break and lasted for 11 days. The students flew to Rome, Italy and did some sightseeing including a stay in Vatican City and a visit to Saint Peter’s Basilica, before heading to Copertino, Italy. Because they were in Copertino, the exchange group was able to see where Saint Joseph of Copertino (The Flying Friar) was born, raised, and baptized. SJC students attended classes in their counterpart school, San Giuseppe da Copertino and stayed with host families nearby.
By far, the favorite part for the students was “getting [to know] and meeting new friends.” Thanks to social media, family and friends in the SJC community were able to see daily postings of where the group was and what they were doing. Additionally, many of their new friends continue to keep in touch and promise to visit. The exchange group “liked the culture” and “adored their host families.”
Overall, the reception was extremely welcoming and the Saint Joseph of Cupertino students were treated like “rock stars.”
In order to participate in this once in a lifetime experience, students had to write an essay to be considered for the journey. Only three students had traveled internationally prior to this trip, but all have caught the adventure bug and hope to travel more in the future. The tentative plan is for SJC families to host students from Copertino next spring.