Senior Nicholas Leproni was just following in his dad’s footsteps when he walked into a travel agency and decided to move across the world for ten months. Born in the city of Torino, Italy to an Italian father and a Dutch mother, Leproni always knew he would end up traveling at some point or another.
“[Back in the day,] my dad went to Reno, Nevada, my brother went to Alpine, Utah,” he says, “and I’m here.”
By here, he means McHenry, a random city in the Midwest that was chosen for him. Leproni explained the process like this: a person goes to the agency to express their desire to travel, they share their information, the agency asks if the person has any specific place in mind, and call back once they’ve found a family willing to take them in. In Nicholas’ case, he says that he had no preference on where he wanted to go, although that point is still up for debate.
“And to think that I could’ve ended up in Florida, California, New York…” Leproni laughs.
Coming from an elegant city of less than one million people on the outskirts of the Alps, to a city of a little more than twenty-five thousand, he can’t really be blamed. It would be an adjustment for anyone. Throw in the idea of a completely new country, people, and expectation to speak a certain language (although he knows five; English, Italian, French, Dutch, and German), and thing’s could get a little hectic. Leproni says he hasn’t found the time to miss his home quite yet.
“I don’t have much time to think about it. Still gotta get used to this.”
Considering everything that he’s going through, it was surprising to say the least when he answered that food is the aspect of American culture that has given him the most trouble.
“They put Italian names after every food,” Leproni states. “[My trip to Olive Garden] was traumatizing.”
Instead, he would much rather be eating his grandmother’s brasato al abrolo, a classic dish tracing back to Northern Italy. It consists of pot roast cooked in seasonings, vegetables, and wine. Unfortunately, it might be a while until he can have this beloved dish again; he still has seven months to go.
Although he’s been here for only three months, Nicholas has already made a lasting impression. He’s an outgoing, sarcastic seventeen year old with a love for “Bojack Horseman, hanging out with friends, and doing dumb [stuff] together.”
Just don’t take him out for Olive Garden.