Alayna Mobley
2011-12 Outbound to Hungary

Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida
School: Creekside High School
Sponsor: Bartram Trail Rotary Club, District 6970, Florida
Host: TBA, District 1911, Hungary

Alayna's Bio

Szia! My name is Alayna Mobley and I just happen to be going on an amazingly fantastic trip to study abroad in… wait for it… just a second more……… HUNGARY! :D I am 15 years old living in sunny Jacksonville, and attending Creekside High School. By the time I leave for Hungary (I love saying that) I will be 16. I’ve lived in Florida my whole life and love being outside. Anything that’s adventurous and exciting is my kind of thing. I’ve been traveling ever since I was in my momma’s belly (literally) haha. Anyways some of the things I like to do in my spare time are read, hangout with friends, boating activities, anything outdoors, and my main hobby is horseback riding.

I first heard about the Rotary Youth Exchange Program  back in October when Jack Murray came to my school to give a presentation on it. The second the presentation was over I headed straight outside to call my Mom and ask if I could do this. I knew this was for me. I had that feeling in the pit of my gut that I had to do this. It was an awesome feeling and I was accepted as you can see. I get the amazing chance to be able to learn another culture, how they act there, their customs, celebrations, religion, a new language, the second hardest language to learn at that! My mind is blown it’s so amazing! :)

But I would have never gotten to this point if it weren’t for Rotary, my family, and friends. Thank you Rotary and all of the Coordinators, chairs and officers (well everybody helping out!) involved in District 6970 for helping me get to where I am and where I’m going. I can’t thank you enough, although you’ll probably hear it every time I see you guys! I would also like to thank my family and friends for being so supportive of my decision to do this. I’m so thankful of this incredible chance of a lifetime. Oh, and if you’re thinking of applying to be an exchange student... DO IT! This is, as I said up there, a chance of a lifetime! Take it in your hands and hold on to it. As I like to say Carpe Diem (Seize the Day). Viszontlátásra! (Goodbye!)

Alayna's Journals

Thursday, October 27, 2011

So it’s been one month and nine days since I stepped off the Air France plane onto Hungarian soil. Since I first saw my host family, smiles, balloons and all, waiting for me at the airport. And what I can say about Hungary is that it’s amazing, incredible, fascinating, and every good imaginable word you can think of! But saying all of those would be an understatement. The feeling of living here and being here is indescribable. I feel like I fit right in with the culture, people, and language! But don’t get me wrong, I definitely experienced culture shock. During my first week here I went for a walk. To explore.(: I was walking down the sidewalk, coming up to an elderly woman. Now remember, in America it’s poite to say “hello” or “Good Afternoon” when passing strangers. Therefore, me being the American that I am, I politely smiled and said “Jnapot kivanok” (I wish you a good afternoon”) to the woman and she glared and looked at me like I was insane! I was thinking in my head “What the heck?!? I was just trying to be nice!” But then as I passed more and more people I realized… wait a second.. they don’t do that here! I was so embarrassed at the time, but now I just look back and laugh. That was my first culture shock slap in the face.

Magyar is a language in itself; it’s unique, different, hard, interesting. But I’m getting it.(: And I’m surprisingly learning it fast! All of my friends and my family help me out with the language; my host sisters will point out random objects and say what it is in Hungarian and they make me repeat it until I pronounce it right. But it’s hard sometimes to understand the words I do know because they talk so fast! And I have to say”Lass! Lass!” This means “Slower! Slower!” I am beginning to be able to actually put sentences together instead of talking like a three-year old. But it’s hard because each Hungarian word changes form in each sentence, depending on who you’re talking about, what you’re talking about, and when and why you’re talking about it. But the language is not a huge struggle, and my pronunciation of words is pretty good. I am so happy that I’m understanding, speaking, and learning the language so fast.

Seven days… It takes seven days to break a habit. Seven days in a week. It took seven days for me to fully adjust. It might sound weird but on that seventh day of being here I could talk about my family without getting tears in my eyes. On that seventh day I finally ate everything that was on my plate… and more(: On that seventh day I didn’t get homesick’ I didn’t have the urge to call my Mom and Dad. I had finally gotten into a routine with my host family and on that seventh day I fully accepted everything that was new and embraced it. And ever since that seventh day I can honestly say that I am happy; happy to be in Hungary