Sofia Francalanci’s time in the U.S. is dwindling away. Instead of months before returning to her home in Florence, Italy, the exchange student spending the 2021-22 school year with the Mike and Ashley Johnson family is now down to days.
While that makes her sad, she also has reached a stage in her Minnesota stay where’s she ready to see her Italian friends and family again — and the city she calls home.
Sofia’s Italian home is on the outskirts, or a suburb, of Florence, a city known as much for its Renaissance art and architecture as its beauty. She lives about 20 minutes, by car, from downtown Florence.
“Florence is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, not just because it’s my city,” Sofia says, as a big smile sweeps across her face. “It’s an old town, but very cultural with so much history behind it.
“There are so many gardens that you can go to. We have Piazzale Michelangelo. There is a view you can see all of Florence; and we have the Arno River. ”
However, she admits that after a year full of experiences and opportunities to see different parts of the U.S., she’s ready to see her Italian friends and family.
“When I was in Florence, I was like, ‘I’m sick of this stuff,’ because I have to have change in my life,” she says. “Like sports, I’ve done so many sports in my life. Almost every year I have to change my sport.
“I like to change and try new things. I cannot do the same thing for so long. So, it was like, ‘I need to change. I need to go away from here. I cannot stay here any more.’ If you would have asked me some months ago, I would not have wanted to go back, but now I’m kind of excited to go back to my family and city. ”
For much more on Sofia and her stay in the U.S., see the story in May 18 issue of the Cottonwood County Citizen on newsstands tomorrow.