Add a Seat!

Written by Mallory February 24, 2017

The Bell tower at the Crespano market!

A beautiful view of Crespano, Paderno, Asolo, and the other neighboring towns!

The amazing "pre dinner" course set out for us!

Chiara and Marta's puppy, Eddie!

Our group after our amazing meal with Chiara, Marta and her family!

Although CIMBA is located in a pretty small town outside of Venice, the staff does an amazing job of keeping us busy so it doesn’t always feel like we are in a small town!

This week, I had the opportunity to interact with some more locals and get a small taste of their day to day lives!

CIMBA is housed in the same building that houses a private  institution called the Insituti Filippin. I have seen them in the halls, sometimes in the dorms, and during lunch and dinner. The ones I generally see are high schoolers so it is nice to talk with them and practice my Italian!

Several weeks ago, the Filippin had an exchange program  where students could chose to attend CIMBA classes and see what we are learning. In my business, culture, and society class, I got the opportunity to interview a few of the students and ask them what their opinions were on some of the topics.

The second girl I interviewed was named Chiara! She and I hit it off, and we ended up not talking about anything we were supposed to be talking about (shh, don’t tell professor Standish). She was so sweet and told me all about the places around Paderno that I needed to go and where I needed to eat. She even wrote a list for me of the things I needed to order at the different restaurants!

Fast forward to this week and I was getting really nervous for our event, Add A Seat. This event is where families of Italian students attending the Filippin invite CIMBIANS  over to their homes for a nice home-cooked, Italian-style meal! I was getting nervous because I really didn’t know any of the Italian students. Were they going to speak enough English where I could hold a decent conversation? What were their families going to be like? Was I going to like what they cooked for dinner? There were so many unanswered questions racing through my mind.

A couple days before the event, I received an email that told me everything I needed to know. It was house assignments of where we were going to spend our evening. I think I got the best set up out of anyone in the group because I got assigned to Chiara! The second I saw her name next to mine, I was so much more confident about the entire situation and was getting really excited about going!

The day finally came for Add a Seat and I was so excited. I was in a group with five other CIMBA girls, and we all got picked up and taken to their home. Their set up of food was absolutely incredible. They had just about everything I could ever imagine and more (this includes two very cute and lovable doggies)!! I honestly think I ate enough food to last me for the next three days…

We stayed with Chiara and her sister for four hours, just talking about everything under the sun. Comparing the US to Italy, CIMBA and the Filippin, what places we need to go in Europe, what they like to do on their free weekends, anything! I had such an amazing time away from the American students and getting to actually have an in depth conversation with Italians.

I am so thankful I was placed with Chiara and her family because I now feel like I have real Italian friends who will show me the ropes throughout Paderno and Crespano (the neighboring town they live in).

For anyone, current CIMBIANS or future CIMBIANS, I would ten out of ten recommend participating in Add a Seat because you will never know the types of friendships you can build, the people you can meet, and the puppers you can pet for hours!