Add a Seat (or Maybe 5?): Getting to Know Italian Culture with Italian Students

Written by Mallory November 29, 2016

The group picture we took after dinner!

Had some puppy love while enjoying the evening at Add a Seat.

This week, I had the opportunity to participate in CIMBA’s Add a Seat to the Table program. Add a Seat is organized by the CIMBA in conjunction with the Istituti Fillipin, the boarding school that shares a campus with CIMBA. Students from the Italian high school open their homes for an evening so we can get a glimpse of how an Italian family lives and functions.

To be honest, I was pretty nervous. It was a bit intimidating to enter someone else’s home for the evening. I didn’t really know how it was going work; I don’t speak much Italian, and I had no idea how much English the family I was paired with was going to speak. I was pretty much going in blind. I was lucky enough to be paired with another CIMBA student, Trisha. It made it about ten times less scary to know I wouldn’t be alone!

Trisha got our hosts Brookside Chocolates, which are a favorite for both of us. We paired them with a note and headed to the Hawk Room to wait for the family we would be spending the evening with. Upon our arrival, we were notified that a member of our host family had fallen ill that day and would be unable to host us. We then found out we would be paired with another family that was already hosting three other students: Emma, Grace and Kim. We were excited to say the least!

Our family arrived and we met Marta and her mom and dad. We piled into two cars and headed off to their home. It was a quick drive and we were there. They live on a family compound that includes their grandmothers house within walking distance from theirs. They welcomed us in and we met Marta’s sister Chiara and their little brother. They also had two dogs! (They were definitely a highlight of the night.) We enjoyed an apertivi before dinner and were able to get to know each other a little bit better. The Italian students and their father all spoke perfect English, however their mother didn’t speak it very well. It was so odd, at times we all forgot that English wasn’t their first language, they were that good!

We enjoyed dinner together where we spoke about a variety of topics ranging from the Kardashians to activities we like to do. After dessert and coffee, we retired to their living room where we continued our conversations. We played with their dogs for a while and had lots of puppy love. It was fairly obvious we all missed our pets at home! It was getting late and we all had school the next day. We exchanged snapchats with the Italians, took a few pictures, and then headed back to campus. It was a great night. Going into the evening my nerves were fairly high, but but the end, all of those concerns had vanished and now have two new Italian friends!