Hayden Knight


Hometown: Tampa, Florida
School: Sickles Highschool
Sponsor District: 6890
Sponsor Club: Tampa Carrollwood
Host District: 2240
Host Club: Roznava


My Bio

Ahoj! My name is Hayden and I got to Sickles High School in Tampa. I am currently 17 years old. It is all still a bit surreal that I am not only writing this bio, but that in a few months I will be somewhere in Slovakia! In school I am an avid member of our AFJROTC detachment. JROTC is a class in which you not only learn about the military (Drill, marching, military history, and the science of flight) But also you learn leadership. You learn how to take charge and put yourself out there and lead. You also learn how to best handle people and how to be accountable for you orders...and your mistakes. I also take honors and AP classes, as well as being part of student government. Outside of school I love to play soccer, hike, and camp! Anything outdoors pretty much. The reason I really want to be an exchange student is because of my love for learning first hand, about other cultures, and also experiencing them. Meeting people from around the world is also extremely interesting as well as amazing. This summer I had the chance to do a little of both at the HOBY World Leadership Seminar. For 8 days I met and participated in activities with 454 other kids from around the world. That's where I think the drive to become an exchange student all started. I hope to spend the upcoming year in Slovakia not only embracing other cultures, but also learning, and growing as a person to hopefully pass on my experiences back home. I don't think I'll ever be able to thank Rotary enough for this opportunity. Well I've gotta go, but we'll stay in touch! See ya on the flip side.

Journals: Hayden – Slovakia 2016-17

  • Hayden, outbound to Slovakia

    Read more about Hayden and all his blogs

    Exchange is a beautiful thing. You not only exchange yourself, but your life, your parents, your friends, your culture, the scenery, and your feelings. You're thrust into the unknown, and while some would find it frightening, I find it strangely exhilarating. Anais Nin said, " We travel, some of us forever, to seek other places, other lives, other souls." It's beyond true. As with anyone in life, you can't stay in contact with everyone, and the same is true of exchange. You will meet people more amazing than you can ever imagine, people with different views, personalities, and opinions. Whether you stay in contact doesn't matter, what matters is that a little piece of them will stay with you, and change you. So far I've seen beautiful sights, I've been able to tour Slovakia, a country beautiful beyond all measure. Friends have been made, memories forged. Everyday can be new, or maybe it won't be. But every day here is a blessing, because exchange has changed me as a person. I haven't just begun to learn a language. I haven't just switched countries. I've broadened my horizons, I've became a better person. If this is a future outbound reading this, I'd like to tell you how much I wish you would come here to Slovakia, but honestly every country is amazing and special in it's own way. If this is a Rotarian reading this, thank you so much for supporting an organization that has offered this to me. If this is a friend, I hope you're well, I hope you're happy. If not, I'm here, no matter where I am. If it's my family, I love beyond words can describe, and I miss you, but also I can't miss an opportunity like this, they only last so long. Remember that life is either a daring adventure, or nothing... -Helen Keller

  • Hayden, outbound to Slovakia

    Read more about Hayden and all his blogs

    Before I begin, I'm going to say that there is no possible way to convey the amazingness of my exchange so far, or all the things I've done. So here I am, I'm writing this post on the one month of me being in Slovakia. I guess to start I should say how amazing and inviting my host family has been. My host dad is usually gone Monday-Friday because of his work so it's just my host mom and I. Neither of them speak almost any English, but honestly it's made learning so much easier. Of course with that its frustrating not being able to easily express yourself, but then again the good things in life don't come easy. So far I haven't really been homesick, there's been days where I missed things back home, of course, but I try to keep an optimistic attitude. Since I've been here, I've gone to countless garden parties, cottages, caves, hikes, mushroom hunts, seen beautiful buildings, and met "new" fam ily members. School has been confusing since my Slovak is far from amazing, but my classmates have made every effort to help and explain, and even include me outside of school. My first weeks here were exhausting, not even because of the jet lag, but just the mental exhaustion of constantly being asked questions and not understanding the majority of what's said to you. Exchange is definitely no walk in the park. If you're reading this and you just want a vacation, don't go. Everyone seems to think going on exchange is an endless holiday, and it feels that way at times, but if you aren't giving it your all, it gets so much harder. I wish I could get all of those reading this to understand the plethora of feelings associated with dropping one life and picking up a new one 22 hours later, its scary, refreshing, happy, sad, fun, exiting, and most of all its rewarding. I'm still a newbie to this, I haven't seen everything' experienced everything, learned the majority of the language, but still I feel like I'm meant to be here.

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