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Why so many young American girls in Rome?

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Last weekend (June 5-8) in Rome, we kept on finding ourselves next to American family groups.

A huge proportion included an early teenager - usually a girl - and all (eavesdropping on their conversations) seemed to be on holiday: they weren't Roman residents (though they may have been expatriates elsewhere in Europe). Almost no other nationality in family groups near us in hotels, archaeological sites, restaurants or churches included early teenagers.

European kids' absence was unsurprising. The cycle of Easter to May ponti (those holiday weekends Continentals stretch out) was, except where Corpus Christi's a public holiday, over: schools don't break up for another month and in some countries June's core exam time.

But American 14 yo's? Is it normal - as till recently it was in Britain - for American parents to take children out of school for family holidays? Or is there some mid-term break I've not previously encountered?

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