Jaden Johnson


Hometown: Lecanto, Florida
School: Lecanto High School
Sponsor District: 6950
Sponsor Club: Homosassa
Host District: 1911
Host Club: Budapest-Margitsziget


My Bio

Szia everyone! My name is Jaden Johnson and I'm from Crystal River, Florida. I'm 15 years old and a sophomore at Lecanto High were I am a member of the AVID program. My future is very important to me. That's why I joined RYE, and why I am in AVID. In the past two years I have played on the soccer team and have swam on the schools swim team. In the future I plan on going to college and studying medicine and health sciences, so I can join the medical field. I've been spending a lot of my time hanging out with friends and family as much as possible, while also studying hard for school to keep honor roll. With swim season being over, I have a ton of free time to where I now fully devote myself to the RYE program and learning Hungarian language and culture as much as possible. I can't say it enough how thankful I am that I signed up for this program and that all my friends and family support me on this. That the RYE program accepted me. Getting that phone call from Ned changed my life from the moment he said I got Hungary (Which was my first choice) and I couldn't be happier! I am ready for a change in my life. I'm ready to get out of the little town I've been in my whole life and explore the world, learn a new language, and become a new person. I'm so excited to see what the next year will bring me!

Journals: Jaden – Hungary 2016-17

  • Jaden, outbound to Hungary

    Read more about Jaden and all her blogs

    First, I’d like to fix some mistakes I noticed in my last post:
    1)Lake Balaton is the biggest lake in Central Europe, not all of Europe.
    2)I wrote about going to the Statue of Liberty but I wasn’t sure of the real name. But that’s it. That’s the name of it. I thought it had a different name. I don’t know why I didn’t research that before I posted it... It stands on top of Gellert Hill with the Citadel/Citadella.
    But anyways…

    Hungary is absolutely beautiful! I fall more and more in love everyday as I discover new things. I am making the best memories with my new friends/family. I can't believe three months have already passed. It feels like yesterday that I was getting ready to leave. I am so thankful to Rotary for giving me the chance of a lifetime. I love every second that I spend here!

    These past few months have been the best and the craziest months of my life. The whole month of September was spent finding my way through this small but seemingly huge country. The highlight of September was language camp. I was able to meet all of the exchange students that live throughout Hungary. We spent an awesome but very short week together. We had lessons during the day and free time in the evening. It was a week of laughter, memories, dancing to Brazilian music, and joining cultures from all over the world into one hostel.

    The start of October was when I finally felt at home. Everything was returning to normal. The first weekend I was able to reunite with my RYE family and travel to Vienna! We met with the Austrian exchange students and toured the Parliament, St. Stephen's Cathedral, and Schönbrunn Palace. I hope to go back one day. It is so gorgeous there! 
    After my trip to Vienna I was back at school and back to my life in Budapest. Some little things I did: I explored Kékes -the highest point in Hungary. I walked through Margitsziget/ Margaret Island after the leaves turned yellow, orange and red. I played for my school’s streetball tournament on an exchange team called “The Foreigners”. We lost both games but it was so much fun to spend time with my classmates! I got to meet and spend a wonderful day with a former exchange student from Hungary, that lived in my grandparents’ house back in Florida! It was so great to meet her family and see her have the chance to catch up with mine through video chat!

    The end of October was the start of my Autumn break. It came just in time. I love my school here but I needed a break. I traveled to Debrecen to meet my host grandparents and to see a few of the exchange students! I spent the rest of the week with my friends, some who visited and some who live in Budapest. 

    I miss everyone and everything back home so much! Whenever I talk or hang out with past exchange students I think to myself: If they can go through a whole year away from home and come back, so can I. Maybe it wasn't easy for them but they did it. Kind of motivation I guess. I love every second I spend here!

  • Jaden, outbound to Hungary

    Read more about Jaden and all her blogs

    8-20-16 through 8-28-16
    What a crazy first week it has been! I am having a wonderful time in Hungary! The city is exhilarating and a little overwhelming.. It’s a lot to get used to of course. I now have another exchange student living with me from Mexico and she just arrived here a few days ago! Her name is Rocio. I’m so thrilled that we live together because I need another teenager to hang out and talk with in person. It’s been hard without my family of course. Most, if not all of the exchange students experience homesickness- Some more than others- and they all experience it differently. Mine hasn’t been too bad... Just some nervousness at times. Of course I miss my family terribly but I try to not think about it as much so it won’t take over. I am used to having a bunch of kids running around the house, keeping me busy. I am used to being able to easily hang out with my friends and family around town. Now I have no crazy kids. I’m not able to drive here like at home so I can’t go to meet friends and family as easily as I could before. So I am extremely excited that I finally have someone to talk to at home. It has really helped in making some of my nerves go away. I have been keeping busy though. So here is how my first week went:

    My first day (Saturday) just so happened to be National Hungary Day so there was a huge festival in Old Buda and fireworks in the evening! I did a ton of walking, saw a bunch of beautiful buildings and tried some amazing Hungarian food. Sunday my host mom cooked chicken and put together some mango salad for lunch (But they called it dinner)! We took a weekend trip after lunch to Lake Balaton- the biggest lake in Europe- with my host mother’s best friend Szuszi. That evening we went to a small restaurant with a breathtaking view of the hills and I tried goose leg. I really liked it! We ended the day at this little street festival/ fair and went on the bumper cars. Monday was my host mother’s birthday but we didn’t do much. It was raining all day and it was too cold to swim in that lake. So instead we went to this super fancy hotel where they had this huge spa area. It consisted of a big lane pool, a thermal bath (heated pool) outside, and a couple of saunas. I got to try my first sauna and it was nice! Of course being the Floridian that absolutely hates heat, I only lasted 5 minutes. 

    Tuesday we went home and I had the day to relax and have some alone time while my host parents were working. I used that time to video chat my mom and catch up on emails. A few hours later my host mom and I went for a walk around the city. I live right in the city center so everything surrounds me. We went to Vaci street which is very famous and has a million different shops and restaurants! Seeing how big and busy the city actually is was so crazy to me. I come from a small town so moving right to the center of Budapest was a huge change. Wednesday afternoon my host mom took me to a hidden market a few streets over and we had lunch. After, we just hung around at home until it was time to get Rocio from the airport at 5.. So yeah! Now she’s here and I am so happy! Thursday we made our rounds to the immigration office (But it was closed so we had to come bac k Friday) and to my new school. It is very nice from what I’ve seen. For the rest of the afternoon I took Rocio to explore Vaci street and St. Stephens Basilica. We had flower shaped ice cream and did a little shopping. Poor thing was so tired when we came home that she fell right to sleep for the rest of the night. My host family and I had a nice dinner together. I worked on teaching my host mom English and she taught me some more Hungarian! Friday we went back to the immigration office for our residence permits. It took forever but I think it went well. So hopefully there are no problems again ( but I wouldn't be surprised if some kind of problem came up...). Friday evening we packed and set off for a quiet, relaxing weekend in Lake Balaton as a family. Saturday, my host family and I took a boat from one side of the lake to the other and explored the cute little town of Tihany. We found a sweet lavender shop with soaps, pillows and more that smelled of lavender and it w as amazing! For dinner we went back to that restaurant with the breathtaking view of the Balaton hills but this time we had Rocio come along! She got to try her first bowl of goulash while I had my 10th bowl since being here.. After relaxing for about an hour we drove to a Bob – a mini roller coaster that you control the speed. Rocio and I went on it 5 times! Today we spent the lovely afternoon at a castle in Keszthely. They had a nice tour set up to walk around. In the evening after driving all the way home, we had some time to relax before traveling to the “statue of liberty” (as my host father called it.. Not sure of the real name) and to Hősök tere. The view I saw near the statue was astonishing. I didn’t bring my camera so I was stuck taking some crappy photos on my phone. But no picture- nice camera or or not- could capture the beauty I witnessed. It felt like a dream. A dream that I didn’t want to end. Seeing that view made me realize wher e I was and what I was here in Hungary for. It was incredible. (When I go back again I will bring my camera to take better pictures)

    This week school will finally begin and I am so excited! I can't wait to meet more kids:)

    So.... That's it for now! Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

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