By Riley Burns and Mary Austin
This summer freshman Nico Modesti will travel abroad to Madrid, Spain on a conquest to explore new opportunities. He will travel through the Rotary International Youth Exchange Program. This program gives adolescents the opportunity to broaden their horizons on many cultural scales, according to their website.
Modesti will depart out of Philadelphia, PA but is “not nervous to fly alone because he has already done so before.” Modesti will stay in a suburb about 15 minutes south of Madrid with the De la Fuente family. Even though there has been little communication through Skype and text messaging, Modesti looks forward to meeting his soon-to-be exchange brother, Borja De La Fuente, who is also a freshman. The De La Fuente family will host Nico for three weeks and then, after flying for seven hours and 45 minutes, Borja and Nico will arrive in Syracuse for an additional three weeks, as Borja will stay with the Modesti family.
Modesti has a busy three weeks planned, “I really want to visit the historical parts of Spain,” said Modesti. “But I also want to see the modern shops and towns of Madrid along with some of the beaches in Barcelona.” Because he is a competitive soccer player in Syracuse as part of the club team Syracuse Development Academy, he hopes to visit the famous soccer stadiums there and see a game because “it’s nothing like the energy at the games in the U.S.” Because soccer is the national sport in Spain, the fans are more rowdy.
Although Modesti looks forward to his time in Spain, he does have a few worries. One is that he hopes he is not a burden to the De La Fuente’s during their summer. In addition to that, Modesti hopes that adapting to a different culture, set of customs, and new rules isn’t as intimidating as it seems.
However, Spanish teacher Michael O’Brien thinks Modesti will succeed in Spain because of his above average linguistic skills. Mr. O’Brien thinks Modesti will do exceptionally well and will be “happy with the things he knows, but displeased with the things he has yet to learn.” Like Mr. O’Brien, Earth Science teacher Kevin Sommer thinks Modesti will do just fine because he is an intelligent young student. “I hope he gets the most of this experience and has fun while doing it,” said Mr. Sommer.
Modesti is hoping to leave this trip with a “one of a kind friendship that only a trip like this could provide.” Modesti hopes to have a fun-filled summer and primarily, improve on his Spanish speaking skills.