Ana Bagaric

 Czech Republic

Hometown: Pinellas Park, Florida
School: St. Petersburg Collegiate
Sponsor District : District 6950
Sponsor Club: Gulf Beaches, Florida
Host District: 2240
Host Club: The Rotary Club of Kroměříž


My Bio


Ahoj! My name is Ana Bagaric and I will be spending my Rotary Youth Exchange in the Czech Republic! I'm currently attending St. Petersburg Collegiate High School and will be graduating this year. I was born in Berlin, Germany but grew up in Pinellas Park, Florida. My family is originally from Croatia and I can speak some of the language. The summers I've spent visiting my family in Croatia and learning about my heritage were very memorable and exciting. At first I thought the Czech Republic would be too similar to Croatia but after doing research I've found that they are completely different. I'm excited to know two Slavic languages. At home, I live with my parents, older brother and my spoiled little dog. In my free time, I have a job at Panera Bread where I make sandwiches and serve guests. I also love to go on runs, bake, and be creative through craft making. I applied to this program because I have always loved to travel and think I will learn so much by immersing myself into a different culture. I knew when a presentation at my school was given that I would regret not doing this. I am so thankful for this amazing opportunity!

Apple picking in the backyard!

Apple picking in the backyard!

The Flower Garden of Kroměříž

The Flower Garden of Kroměříž

Croatia being beautiful

Croatia being beautiful

	 Meeting my host parents at the airport

Meeting my host parents at the airport

All of us exchange students living in Kroměříž at the dance lessons

All of us exchange students living in Kroměříž at the dance lessons

	 The city square in Kroměříž

The city square in Kroměříž

Závěrečná Taneční (final dance lesson)

Závěrečná Taneční (final dance lesson)

Me presenting American/Floridian culture to my school

Me presenting American/Floridian culture to my school

Me in my winter gear

Me in my winter gear

The seasons actually change here!

The seasons actually change here!

Posing with our host parents

Posing with our host parents

Journals: Ana-Czech Republic Blog 2017-18

  • Ana, Outbound to Czech Republic

    Its officially been almost 100 days since I’ve been here (99 today) and the time has gone by so fast, yet it feels like an eternity at the same time. Again, I don’t know where to begin with this journal. I guess we can start with the weather. This Florida girl is freezing over here. It hasn’t snowed yet, but the weather is normally 0-4 degrees Celsius (that’s 32 to 39 degrees Fahrenheit). My host family took me to buy boots, a winter coat, a scarf, mittens and some beanie-all things I have never owned or needed to own before. It was quite funny for them to watch me attempt to put a scarf on correctly since I’m incredibly clueless with anything winter related. Everyone here is amazed when they find out I’ve never seen snow before, and I’m impatiently waiting for the first snowfall.

    An update on the dance lessons: they were amazing! As I mentioned in my last post, I hate dancing and dresses. But I actually had fun and wore a total of 4 dresses throughout the 12-week lessons. That’s more dresses in the past three months than my entire life. The final ball was incredibly nerve-wracking as all of our host families (my current and three future ones), all of my teachers, classmates, and basically everyone in the town attended. This event is a big deal to Czech students and their parents, maybe even more than prom in the U.S. We did an introduction routine, the waltz, tango, jive, cha-cha, salsa, blues, polka, foxtrot and mambo (at least those are the ones I can remember). Me and my partner weren’t too great but it was hilarious to laugh at ourselves and I had a great time. I will always remember these lessons.

    I have become very close with the exchange students in my town. It feels as if we’ve known each other for years, not just three months. They are a great support system as they’re going through the exact same thing I am. In October, we were told by the director of our school that we would do a ten-minute presentation in Czech in front of the ENTIRE school. We all hate public speaking so you can imagine how nerve-wracking it was for us. The point was to share our culture with the school and get more students to recognize us. We all worked together to create our presentations and practice our Czech. It was terrifying to have to speak for ten minutes in front of a crowd of native speakers. Although I stuttered a bit during my presentation and probably mispronounced multiple words, I am proud of myself for doing it. Nobody laughed at us and they seemed impressed with our effort.

    My dance lessons are over, and soon we will wrap up our Czech lessons that we have three times a week. I’m currently looking for another hobby to take up, possibly a sport since all I do is eat here. In America, I would usually be given a list of all the clubs and activities at my school and just pick a few, whereas here they don’t do these things in school. I have to go out and look for them myself, which makes it a bit more difficult. The city is quite small and I feel as if I have explored it fully. It’s strange to see classmates, teachers, and Rotarians walking around, there are constantly people I know passing by me and saying hello. Living in a small town has its ups and downs. Sometimes finding things to do with friends requires a bit of creativity. We have eaten at all the restaurants, tried the cafes, been to all the stores, the movie theatre, and the bowling alley. That’s about all there is here. It’s very different to home, where I’m so close to St. Petersburg and Tampa and there are endless possibilities of what to do it now seems.

    The Rotary here has been great so far. My Rotary club is invested in their exchange program, and we attend the meetings once a week. In September, I attended the first orientation meeting and met all the students living in either Czechia or Slovakia, District 2240. It was held in Trenčin, Slovakia, where we got to go on a hike altogether to the beautiful caste there. The next Rotary event will be the Christmas weekend in Prague, which I am looking forward too. I will also be attending the Vienna Christmas market with my host family. I’m so excited to celebrate the Christmas holiday here!

    Click HERE to read more about Ana and all her blogs

  • Ana, Outbound to Czech Republic

    Click HERE to read more about Ana and all her blogs

    Dobrý den!

    I have been here for a little over three weeks now, and I can say that I’m having the time of my life. So much has happened in the past 24 days that I can’t possibly fit it all in one journal post, but here are some of the highlights and challenges I’ve faced so far.

    The beginning of my exchange was a little overwhelming, as I was constantly being introduced to new people and was bombarded with questions. I am a pretty shy person, and one of the reasons I went on exchange was to step out of my comfort zone and open up more. Living in a new home, being surrounded by new things and hearing a different language was strange and it took some time for me to settle in. However, I can say that I’m comfortable now and I appreciate everything that my host family and Rotary club are doing for me.

    I live in a village called Jarohnevice, that has a population of about 300 people. It is only a few minute's drive away from a larger town called Kroměříž, with a population of about 30,000 people. This is a quite a difference for me, being from a much bigger city. Kroměříž is filled with beautiful historic buildings and small cobblestone streets. My host mom and sister took me to the famous gardens in our town, which had mazes, statues, and interesting architecture. The area surrounding my village is filled with nature…it’s so peaceful and relaxing here. I could for sure see why someone would prefer it rather than a big city. My family’s backyard is filled with fruit trees, such as apples and pears. They even have a farm with sheep, chickens and pigs.

    During my second week here, my host dad took me to Croatia for five days. This news made me SO excited since my family is Croatian and I’ve barely spent any time at the Adriatic Sea. My host family has a yacht in a fisherman’s town called Tribunj. Unfortunately, I did experience some seasickness that caused headaches and tiredness both on and off the boat. However, the trip was something I will never forget. We slept on the yacht and spent time riding the boat through neighboring islands. One of the most memorable parts was gaining the courage to jump in the icy cold water. Being a Floridian I’m a complete wuss when it comes to anything cold, but after pacing around the boat in fear for twenty minutes I managed to do it. I don’t think I’ve ever been so cold in my life.

    Before exchange, I promised myself I would say yes to any opportunity that came my way. So when I was told that all four of the exchange students in my town would take ballroom dance lessons, my initial reaction was to run and hide. There are two things I don’t do: wear dresses and dance. I was taken to a dress shop against my will and it was obvious that I was uncomfortable. When it came time to go to the lessons, all four of us exchange students were nervous. None of us were thrilled at the idea of dancing. Surprisingly, we ended up having a great time and were laughing throughout the entire class. I am genuinely excited for the next lesson, and it goes to show that trying new things is important. I have seen and done so many new things due to just saying YES when opportunities reveal themselves.

    To end this journal, I just want to say thank you to RYE Florida and all the volunteers that helped us outbounds. All the preparation we did has made a big difference in my exchange.

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