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Ludovica Bernardini

Hi! My name is Ludovica and I’m an Italian exchange student living in White Rock for a year. I would say I’m a very eclectic teenager, the things and the people I love are several! I am hoping that throughout this presentation I will be able to show, even though only through a screen, how much and why these things are essential to me. There is no order in which I’ll be putting my interests, just like there isn’t one in my brain because I love them all in the same way!

To honour my homeland, I will start from my love for Italy, which is definitely not towards the administration or the bureaucracy, but for the breathtaking nature and the history everywhere, literally: just at two minutes from my house it’s possible to find the ruins of the Roman emperors’ summer residence, which is often wrongly addressed as “Nero’s villa”.

Why do I love it so much?

Italy is a part of my heart, and now that I am experiencing how is life far from it I can say that I miss it, more than I would have ever expected to; I miss the short distance to get everywhere, the food cooked by my family, real pizzas, gelato and so on…

Why do I love it so much? To be able to live and to see personally thousands of years old monuments and extraordinary landscapes everywhere you go it’s such a priviledge, because you have the oppurtunity to actually visit and the experience what you study on books and usually only see through pictures. Not to forget what I love the most about Italy is, of course, the food! I have to say I have been raised with a sophisticated palate, not to brag, but it’s true, because adding to the fact that I am used to eat traditional dishes that people come to Italy from all around the world to try every day directly at my house, the quality of the food is much higher than, making an example, the United States. Everything is fresh and local.

But mostly I miss the people that I left there, starting from my family…

My Italian family is composed of four people including me, my brother Lorenzo, who is two years older than me, my mother Alessia and my father Vittorio. The fifth component is my daughter by heart, my mini poodle dog Tiffany.

Living in my house can only be described by one word: NOISY! Everyone is always on the move, and because of this there are lots of misunderstandings, which lead to many and many arguments, especially between me and my brother, but at the end of the day, I love spending time with them, especially when we do roadtrips in the summer to European cities, this year the destination was Munich, Germany and we adored it!

About my dog, she is my little teddy bear, I love her with my whole heart. I had been asking for a dog since I was able to talk, but my parents didn’t want to hear a thing about it, until one day, August 16th 2018, they surprised me with this tiny puppy that I decided to name after my favourite color, Tiffany green!I love to pet her and to sleep while hugging her, she comforts me every time she sees me upset, she is so smart I couldn’t even describe it, and also a food lover, just like her owner!

On my extended family, there are four people I’d like to talk about, even if two of them are now in heaven, my two grandparents from my mum’s side, Nonna Teta (short for Maria Teresa) who passed in August 2021 and Nonno Giorgio, who passed in 2012. They met before World War Two started and since my Nonno was in the military, my Nonna waited for him for a long time, without knowing if she was ever going to see him again, a as soon as he was deployed, they got married and stayed together till death did them apart, unfortunately. They have been, even if for a short time in my life, my shield, my shoulders to cry on and the ones who would always spoil me, even against my parents’ wishes. They always defended meand I will be forever grateful to them. The other two people are my aunt Enrica (my mum’s sister) and my Nonna Luigia, my dad’s mother. Zia Enrica and Nonna Luigia, as I call them, are the people that will always help me no matter what, they also teach me a lot of things, and along with my Nonna Teta, they passed me their passion for cooking and reading, which I love to bits!

Since I’m here I have been on my own, no family by my side, only by text messages and phone calls, which seems really hard from the outside, but is actually not! I am living my best life here and to be honest I don’t miss anyone, if I do I just video-call them. The one I miss the most is my dog, the fact that I can’t be with her makes me deeply sad, but it’s part of the experience, right?

Lastly, in italy I had to leave my friends, who have begged me for months not to come here, but luckily I didn’t listen to them. I mean, I miss going to school and hanging out with them, but being here is letting me see who are my real friends, the ones that reach out and ask me to call them whenever I can. The closest ones are three: Chiara, Emma e Alessandro. Chiara and Emma are my classmates, but we are all year round together, since we go to the beach, to Rome, and on many lunches and dinners. I miss them a lot, but they always try to make me feel like I’m there with them.

Without these three people I’d be ruthless, I’m kind of a hothead and they always have to make me think and calm down when I get upset. I’m thankful to have met them and wouldn’t exchange them for the world.

About Alessandro, he is my best friend, we have known each other since first grade, fun fact: since we are always together many people believe we are lovers! That is absolutely not true, but I love him so much, he is always there for me, for my departure he gifted me a pair of Converse with “BFF” written with beads on the laces, it will probably seem childish, but to me it meant a lot. To go from seeing him everyday to one or two video-calls per week was hard, but it’s fine.

My first love, gymnastics, I have been a gymnast for eight wonderful years, jumping and walking in balance on those events, my favourite has always been the balance beam, so scary to be on but yet so elegant and beautiful. Competing has always been my favourite part, to show the judges what you are capable of has always made me very proud of myself. Leaving due to the coach harassing me was the worst thing, I regret it every day. I still watch every international meet I can find on the internet, seeing that some of those amazing gymnasts made it to compete professionally warms my heart.

Now I am a volleyball player, I love it, especially because the best friendships come out form group sports, and mine is the one with Melissa. Melissa is a year older than me and she has been my mate for warming up for three years now, except for the times when the coaches divide us since we talk too much. Volleyball doesn’t put pressure on me, I am always looking forward to go to practice and this is the best, as I hadn’t had that feeling during my last years of gymnastics. All of my club mates are very nice, we made a cool group, we hang out sometimes and everyone is invited to each other’s birthdays! Without volleyball, or sport in general, i’d be completely lost. Sport has been a constant part of my life, I could never afford to live without it. That is why I am so excited to have joined my Canadian school’s team!


As I previously said, I love cooking thanks to my Nonnas and aunt. Since I was very young they have taught me how to prepare many different Italian dishes, both savoury and sweet. Since my Nonna passed, all of my family misses her delicacies, she had a very special way of cooking and I always try my best to emulate her, especially her signature dish: calzone! Cooking relaxes me, it’s my way of releasing all the stress and problems I have, and I also love cooking for others and see their reactions when trying the food I prepare. I don’t think that not cooking anymore would affect my life so much, but it’s still an activity that makes my life better every time.

Another thing that relaxes me is music. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, sad, happy, angry, I just put my Airpods on and start playing music, with a very strict order: The Weeknd when I’m happy, Adele when I’m sad or overwhelmed and Taylor Swift when I’m angry. Its effect on me it’s immediate, music contains a secret ingredient inside of it that makes it addicting to me, I hate whenever I have to stop listening to it or someone interrupts me. I think of listening to music as a very intimate activity to do: there’s just you, the artist and the melody, you lose yourself in your thoughts and that is my favourite time of the day, when I’m alone and I can just think not being judged by anyone else. There is no way anyone could live without music, it’s been around sine the first people on Earth and it will be until the end of it, therefore it’s needless to say how impossible it would be for me to live without having access to it, I wouldn’t survive a day.

The other passion that is vital to me is travelling: exploring new places and experiencing different cultures lightens up my heart, there is no other thing in the world that makes me happier than taking a plane and discover a new country. That is why the lockdown due to the Pandemic hit on me so hard. I felt like I was tken away of oxygen, not being able to leave my house and see friends and extended families was a rough patch. The first time travelling after made me feel like I was breathing again, it was he best feeling in the world and i hope I’ll never have to experience being locked in a place for months ever again.

Connected to travelling there’s the other thing I could never lose, FREEDOM. I’m a free spirit, my mum has always known that, just like she knows no one can stop me. I’m responsible and respectul of everyone, but if someone had to take my freedom away from me, I don’t know how I would react. My needing of freedom is probably why I love so much nature, speciically the sea. I have lived all my life really close to the sea and if I had to associate a real thing to freedom I would say the sea, wide and misterious, “multi-formous” just like it’s described in the Odissey. The sound of waves shattering on the shore is the sound of happiness in my opinion. What I’m liking the most about Canada is how everyone is who they want to be, nobody ever judges you or makes you feel uncomfortable, definitely not like in my home country. “Running away” from all that judgement on anything you do was the best decision of my life.

Freedom is also contained in liberty of expression, which I reconnect to art. I have always been a very creative kid, I would create little theatres out of mozzarella boxes, or fill with stickers my bedroom’s door, art puts color to your life, my favourite forms of visible art are painting and photography . My parents have always brought me to art museums since i was a little kid, and I have to thank them for this, because other than expanding my horizons and my knowledge, visiting all those museums made me develope Stendhal’s syndrome, which may sound as a bad thing to the public, but to me it’s wonderful: being able to connect so deeply to painting makes me feel connected to their authors, even if they were alive hundreds of years before me and that is the best feeling to the world. The last painting I saw in person that made me shiver was Van Gogh’s most famous self portrait. All those lines that together composed Vincent Van Gogh’s face felt like they were speaking to me all the sadness and loneliness that the painter went through. It was a bittersweet experience, I have that painting framed in my mind and i will never forget about it.

Photography is another passion that my parents passed down to me. I love both being photographed and taking pictures myself. Keep memories of what I visit and of special moments is what makes it so special, I never want to forget about anything and I also am always trying to take the perfect pics, to capture the details that nobody ever cares about, which turn out to be the most singular thing ou could find in the place you’re in. Taking good pictures to look at after is something I’ve always done, before with my mum’s camera, now with my phone, If it was took away from me, my biggest fear would be of forgetting the things I see or the experiences I go on. I could live without, I’d only have to eat more fish, so that every memory stays in my mind!

Last but not least, i want to talk about my passion about medicine and my aspiration to become a cardio or neuro surgeon. The medical field intrigues me and helping suffering people thanks to my abilities it’s what makes me more willing to pursue this dream. It all started when I was nine years old and still did gymnastics, one of my mates had a little sister, who was seven years old. Out of nowhere she started being sick, she had stomach cancer that slowly passed to her spine and finally to her brain, she fought as much as she could but lost her battle and her suffering ended in July 2016. I still remember that day, we just finished practice when we got the news, it was devastating, everyone was crying, everyone but me. I couldn’t let go of the thought: “What could have been done to save her?”. And since that day I’ve been wanting to become a doctor not to let this happen again, both for the patients and their families. Adding to this wish to save people, I love medicine because it’s beautful, like the human body is. Studying it and exploring it with my hands is what I want to do and nothing can stop me from achieving this goal.