Busto Arsizio

Busto Arsizio, Italy is more than 5,000 miles away from Milledgeville, Ga. but it’s where Federico Tartaro calls home. Tartaro is an International Student Exchange program participant. The 17-year-old student is currently attending GMC Prep School for his American senior year of high school, living with a local host family in Milledgeville. 

"I desired to travel to the United States for a while, knowing as an exchange student, it would be a fantastic opportunity to gain new experiences and insight into the life of an American high school student and family,” said Tartaro. 

Tartaro made his way to the U.S. through a partnership with his home country's exchange agency and the International Student Exchange (ISE), a 501c3 non-profit organization founded in 1982. ISE’s goal is to bring people from around the world closer together and form lasting relationships between exchange students, host families, and local communities to promote peaceful, cooperative international relations. 

"Hosting an exchange student is an experience we have come to really enjoy,” said Daniel Lynch, Tartaro’s host Dad. "Becoming a host family is about more than just the student's experience; it is about erasing the boundaries that separate cultures and expanding your mindset. We have learned something new from every student we have hosted and enjoy gaining a new member of our family for a lifetime." 

The family hosted another exchange student last year, Matteo Portier, from France. Portier attended GMC Prep and had a great experience, so when deciding to host Tartaro, the Lynch family recommended GMC Prep for his schooling. 

Over the years GMC Prep School has hosted several international students, including students at the Royal Hospital School in England. In each of those exchanges the international student isn't the only one at GMC Prep to benefit from this nonpareil experience. Students and faculty alike have expanded their cultural development and gained insight about another country with this rare opportunity. 

"Every exchange student brings something unique to our student body,” said Dr. Steve Greer, GMC Prep School Principal. “It's an opportunity for both parties to learn about different cultures, customs, and courtesies while exploring foreign languages. Students enjoy hearing about other countries and equally enjoy sharing American history, music, sports, and food. We are fortunate to have Federico on the GMC Prep team this year." 

In the four short weeks Tartaro has been living in the United States and attending GMC Prep, he's been accepted by his peers who love showing him the American way. 

"I have made some new friends who have been awesome in welcoming and introducing me to new experiences — like taking me to American Football games,” Tartaro said. 

After GMC Prep, Tartaro plans to return home to Busto Arsizio, Italy, where he will enjoy summer break, and in the fall, return to school for his final year of high school. Tartaro explained that they do 13 years of schooling in Italy before completing high school. He will leave GMC Prep a member of the 2022 graduating class. His time at the Prep School will be cultivated with great memories and lifelong friendships where he will be remembered fondly by his peers. 

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