The North Bend Eagle


Italian enjoying the good life with Nebraska family

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 2/12/14

Alessia Oliviero is a long way from home.

But with technology and a good family in Nebraska, she is weathering the change. She is from Sardegna, pronounced “Sardinia” in America, an island off the “knee” of Italy.

Nebraska FamilyThe Christmas photo of the Schutt family included their “daughter” for the year. Shown are (front) Lindsey and Rick, Casarah; (middle) Alyssa Schutt, Alessia Oliviero, (back) Ed Schutt, grandma Myrtle Jindra and Peggy Schutt.

Even coming from a homeland where cold weather is in the 40s and hot weather is in the 80s, this year’s cold Nebraska winter has not hampered the enthusiasm of the North Bend Central foreign exchange student.

Oliviero is living with Ed and Peggy Schutt and their daughter Alyssa (yes, the names sound pretty much alike) in the country. She arrived in Nebraska July 25 after 24 hours of travel from Rome to Germany to Washington D.C. to Atlanta to Omaha. The Schutt family was all there to greet her and allowed her to sleep as long as she wanted once they got home.

Oliviero said living in America was a dream of hers since she was a child. She started the paperwork in Nov. 2011 and turned her application in January 2013. In June she found out that she would be living with the Schutt family in Nebraska.
Alessia said that to be placed in California required an extra $1,000. She has a classmate who is in California but has not had a good experience with her family.

“I think the American experience would be good, same in California or Nebraska,” Oliviero said.

The Schutts have given her the opportunity to undergo many different American experiences. The family has been boating down the Niobara River, made sure Oliviero went to a Cornhusker football game, took her ice skating in Omaha, sledding in Fremont and target shooting after a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. This winter they have been to collegiate track meets to watch Casarah Schutt compete.

At NBC Oliviero is classified as a sophomore. Italian schools are Monday through Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

When asked what they do in the afternoon, Oliviero responded without hesitation, “Study.” Italian schools have 13 grades. Oliviero’s year at NBC will count as her 12th year, and she will have another year to take before graduating.

There are sports in Italy, but it is all club and on your own. Oliviero has played volleyball but never played basketball, which is a new experience for her this year as a Tiger.

Oliviero is taking English II, Algebra II, chemistry, art, medical terminology, American history and weight lifting at NBC. Another big difference between NBC and her home school is that Italians stay in the same classroom all day and the teachers move around.

Oliviero is an only child. Her mother is a legal secretary and her father is a sailor, sailing for 40 days, then home for 20 days. They talk, text or e-mail weekly. She is enjoying being part of the larger Schutt family. She and Alyssa have gotten to be good friends and they enjoy getting together with friends or just hanging out together.

Oliviero’s bright smile and cheery disposition help her enjoy every experience she is offered in America. The biggest problem she has to worry about now is how to get everything she has purchased back home at the end of the year. What was her first purchase when she got here? A Nebraska T-shirt.

“I’m never bored with all this stuff to do,” Alessia said. “Now I don’t know what I’ll do when I go home.”

Holidays are a little different in Italy. There is no Thanksgivng. The big celebration at Christmas is Dec. 24. Valentines Day is for couples, the children don’t celebrate it in school. But Oliviero is adapting and soaking in all things American during her year in Nebraska.

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