Learning in Atmore

Published 8:08 am Wednesday, August 22, 2007

By By Adrienne McKenzie
Vittorio Tansella has only been in Atmore for almost a month but, is enjoying the sites and the things to do in the small community.
Tansella traveled to America to be a part of the foreign exchange student program and is staying with Christopher and Melanie Rolin and their children, Nate and Tyler Fernandez. So far the 17 year old has had a good time in Atmore, according to Melanie Rolin.
"We have visited the state park and Magnolia Branch," Rolin said. "He loves inner tubing. Although, the 'creek' was a new experience for him."
Tansella arrived in Atmore July 24 and will be staying for one semester before returning to Milan, Italy on Oct. 29, 2007. He said so far he is enjoying 11th grade classes at Escambia County High School, but admits that things are different there than at school in Italy.
"It's different from Italy," he said. "We have a room and the teacher comes in the room, here we change classes."
Rolin said Tansella plays the guitar very well and also is a black belt in karate.
"One of his first purchases he made here in America was a 'Gibson' Les Paul guitar," she said. "Although he paid $2,500 for it, he still saved over $3,000 as compared to what he would have paid in Italy for the same guitar."
Staying in contact with his friends and family are not a hard task for Tansella.
"He stays in touch with his friends in Italy via live messenger and has received several post cards from home," Rolin said.
Coming to America was not Tansella's idea, according to Rolin.
"It was his mother's idea that he take this trip to America," she said. "In her job she travels to America from time to time and speaks very good English. Vitto speaks English well but sometimes has a hard time comprehending what we're saying. It's probably our 'southern accents.'"
This is not Tansella's first trip to the states. He visited New York when he was younger, Rolin said.
"He visited America in 2005 for two weeks," she said. "He spent time in New York. He came with his mother on her job."
Rolin said Atmore residents have been welcoming to Tansella.
"His dad is a farmer in Italy," she said. "We went to the John Deere place in Atmore and the man at John Deere gave him a pair of gloves to send as a gift from Atmore."
Rolin also said she had a humorous experience when she saw Tansella walking around her home in a sweat suit.
"It's so hot here for us and they don't have central heating and air like we do here," she said. "I saw him walking around one day and he had on a sweat suit with layers underneath it because he was cold. I decided I could bump up the air just a little then."
The trip to Atmore was a breeze for Tansella although he said it was a little bit lengthy.
"It's a little bit long," he said. "And we had to change airplanes in Atlanta."
"He had an escort so there were no problems," Rolin said.
Tansella said so far he is enjoying his time in Atmore and that he hasn't even gotten homesick for Italy.
"I like it here," he said. "I do not miss my family back at home, not yet."

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