Ocyrus Erickson


Hometown: Clearwater, Florida
School: Countryside
Sponsor District : District 6950
Sponsor Club: , Florida
Host District: 1911
Host Club: The Rotary Club of Clearwater East

My Bio

Szia. My name is Ocyrus Erickson. I’m a tenth grade student at Countryside High. While currently being enrolled in all Honors, AP and STEM classes I maintain high grade averages, despite their difficulties. I love to learn new things and I have no doubt that this experience will teach me plenty. I live in Clear water with both my parents, a pretty needy cat and my pet snake. Most of all my two year old brother whom I love very deeply. I like to read, hang out with my friends and play video games. I hope to gain a lot from this trip, I was told I will come out a new and improved me and I’m excited for the change. When I was called by Doug I was reluctant about Hungary. I knew nothing about it except that it was in Europe and I didn’t even have it on my list. I would never turn down such an opportunity though, and I believe that was the right choice. Through hours of research I began to become fascinated by everything the country had to offer, it’s rich culture, history and above all else the language. In its entirety of forty-four characters I was extremely intimidated by it. This was only my second language studying and I still have a very long way to go. This will be the experience of a life time and I’ll remember all the new memories I created while outbound. Rotary seems to be an amazing program with their interests in all the right places and I am most certainly glad to have the opportunity to take part in it.

Journals: Ocyrus-Hungary Blog 2017-18

  • Ocyrus, Outbound to Hungary


    This past month and a half has been an extremely busy one. While I am still traveling every weekend and doing activities after school, more has still happened.

    For starters, we had our second and final language camp. I could not have thought of a better way to execute how the week played out. This time I was lucky enough to have it in my town, rather than needing to travel across the country. Every day was two or more hours of studying the language, while the rest of the day was group activities and excercises. Our entire group would always go out into the city with the teachers and have fun. One time in particular we spent a few hours at a bowling alley, many bowled while others enjoyed some other activites like pool or table tennis. Over all it was a fun day.

    My favorite activity was the volunteer teaching. A few groups of students partnered up to teach individual lessons of their choosing. I decided to team up with a good canadian friend of mine. We decided to teach about Fidel Castro's dairy obsession. This was an extremely funny class to teach to everyone. While they still learned something it was never a serious topic, with constant jokes and hand drawn diagrams.

    Some other less memorable events are the trivia games, that hardly worked due to technical issues, a trip to my city's museum of aviation and a festival called Farsáng. Which celebrates the official end of winter, although this spring weather is still very cold and snow covered.

    One other significant event was the Poland weekend. We went to three distinct different locations. Our weekend started with an eight hour bus ride directly to Auschwitz. We had a guided tour through Auschwitz one and two. This was full of heavy imagery and somber feelings. Although it was emotional to say the least I am glad for seeing it. Our second destination was Krakow, an amazing and beautiful city. We spent hours walking around and exploring the riverside, castle and the city itself. Later in the afternoon we were given a tour of the city and ended in the Jewish district for a traditional dinner and some additional time to explore. Some friends and I used this time to get some famous Polish perogies. I expected more from them, but they were good none the less. Finally we spent hours exploring an underground salt mine. This was an out standing sight to see, with miles of tunnels and a few completely carved out cathedrals. This place was not something to be taken lightly as it was years of hard work and ingenuity at work. We went around 150 meters down, although we were still only halfway down the entire tunnel system. What surprised me most was how all these beautiful sculptures were made completely out of salt.

    Everything else has been fine and I can't complain about anything. I continue to practice the language and guitar on a daily basis and both are showing signs of improvement. Thank you for reading this.

    Click HERE to read more about Ocyrus and all his blogs

  • Ocyrus, Outbound to Hungary

    During this past month I have had the best week of my exchange, my family ski trip to Austria. Every single day it was below freezing and the snowfall reached at least a meter every day. During three of the days, we had a series of blizzards, although I continued to ski in the storms. Learning was tedious and difficult however I eventually figured it out. What made this week so special though was just all the time I got to spend being with my family and growing closer to them. When we were not skiing, we were together laughing and playing cards or some sort of activity. Every view in the mountains was amazing, especially at the peak above the clouds. I managed to get through the week practically unharmed as well.

    I have also traveled to the capital of Hungary, Budapest for multiple occasions. First of which was to wish my farewells to an Argentnian girl who was a crossbound. Majority of the students went to her home and threw her a final surprise party. Two other times was for me to be taken around the city to see some interesting sites and attractions by the local exchange students. One particular day stands out. First we spent hours in a pinball museum, filled with tons of playable pinball and assorted arcade games. This was a great time and was absolutely money well spent. After this we went to an interesting cafe, The Cat Cafe. It was named this because as you are sitting in the surprisingly comfortable seats and enjoying your ordered food or drink, there will be about twenty or so cats roaming around the shop. They could be seen sleeping or playing, but mostly they would come up to you and lie down next to you to be pet. Considering my love for most cats I thourougly enjoyed this place. Granted it was a bit pricy and I am on a limited income. Another day trip was for the birthday of an exchange student. A good portion of exchange students gathered for this. We ate, talked, played music, and a lot of table soccer. While only a day, it was definitely a good one.

    I really enjoy my current family and I am glad to be a part of them. Although at times everyone can be independent and be going about their own activities I enjoy the time we spend togeth, especially nce my mother returns after her long day from work and I sit down with the little time I get each day.

    While writing this I am two weeks away from our second and last language camp, which is luckily being held in my city so I won't have to travel far. Last one was an absolute blast and I think this one will be even better. Another event I have to look forward to is our traditional pig slaughtering and cook out. Something I am very interested in experiencing. Finally there will be a trip to Poland in march to see some key sites during the second world war.

    Thank you for reading.

    Click HERE to read more about Ocyrus and all his blogs

  • Ocyrus, Outbound to Hungary

    These past few weeks have been a great time. Traveling cities, meeting up with fellow exchange students, holiday events and switching families.

    I was able to organize two three day trips in these past few weeks. One to Györ, a beautiful city to the West of Szolnok. It is closer to Austria than Budapest. I was lucky enough to arrive during the outbound interviews, so I spent a few hours conversing with the future students. Also due to Christmas, the city was decorated with a spectacular display of lights and decorations. When night fell, the city truly lit up. Aside from those major events I spent many hours exploring the city with friends. On our return day we realized that the next three trains were completely booked and forced us to spend another night in the city, I was only intending on spending two days in Györ. Although I have no regrets, as I was able to spend more time with friends in that city. My Second trip was to Debrecen, about an hour East of Szolnok. This went much smoother than the Györ trip, simply because it was much closer to my city. Like Györ, Debrecen was heavily decorated in lights. An amazing city, with plenty to do. I went to a birthday party with the Rotary and AFS students in the city on the first night and the second night my friends and I went to a disco ice skating rink. Exhausted from the previous days we spent the entire third day inside and simply watched movies. All in all these trips were a blast.

    Everyone told me that the holiday season would be a truly difficult time in my exchange, how I would miss my family and feel away from home. I could not have felt more different than that. I did not miss my family that much simply because I was caught up doing things with my Hungarian one, and I never felt away from home because I feel like Hungary is home to me. Christmas is basically the same with just a few small differences. On December sixth santa comes and fills up the childrens boots with candies and nuts. This was quite an interesting site to wake up to, because I had not expected it to happen to me. Presents are given on the same day as usual except in Hungary, Jesus gives the gifts not Santa. An interesting change but acceptable. My family did not do much for Christmas, but I still enjoyed it. Spent time with relatives, baked cookies and sang songs. Still saying so it was different from normal so I truly liked it.

    Writing this, I am currently on my first full day with my second family, and they are amazing. I have three brothers, a younger, older and one the same age. While I have not been able to talk with all yet I know I will in time. My parents are sweet and caring, plus the father is an amazing cook so that is a plus. My youngest brother loves animals and they have plenty. Four turtles, two dogs, a hamster and more fish than I can count. This house and family are great and I really like it here so far. Hopefully the new year brings good things along too.

    Thank You.

    Click HERE to read more about Ocyrus and all his blogs

  • Ocyrus, Outbound to Hungary

    This month started off very strong then settled into days of just calmness and organization. We had our first trip out of country to Vienna which was absolutely amazing. Although the time we spent there was brief it was dense with interesting and amazing views. We spent just a day and a night and were given both a guided tour and free time. As interesting as an opera sounds it was incredibly long and I could not understand a word considering it was entirely in German.

    When we returned home I continued going about my daily life as usual. Hung out with friends during the afternoon and attended school during the day. During a short walk I took with a friend to purchase a new set of earphones, everything was great until we got caught in a rainstorm about 45 minutes away from home. Needless to say it was miserable and I got sick, having a fever of 40 degrees Celsius the next day. This day just so happened to be during another Rotary event in a city just north of Budapest. I would have attended the volunteer tree planting day. I heard all about it from my fellow exchange students and how they got to cook and just be together once again. I’m even more disappointed that I missed karaoke. I would have loved to pick up the microphone for a few songs but sadly I could hardly even stand let alone sing during that day.

    Fortunately I got better and continued with everything else as I would have. My host sister had her 16th birthday and we had plenty of relatives over and I quite annoyed conversing with them. I had my first vegan birthday cake and I absolutely loved it. Regarding some extra information, I have completely planned out the first chapter of a novel I am beginning to write while abroad. Language is still moving slowly but improving all the same. Tutoring children at a grade school with English is also a good day to look forward to every week. Meeting everyone in the class is interesting to say the least, but I’m happy to be of some help to the students.

    A week or so later I met with my youth counselor and we went out to a basketball game. It was my city against another; I soon realized that Szolnok had the best team in HU. I felt as if I made connections that night that may help me in the long run.

    Finally a few days ago I was taken out into the woods to go on a traditional Hungarian rabbit driving. In other words about seventy people all grouped up in a line to herd the rabbits into the end of the field where a long line of netting was set up to catch the rabbits. This was a very interesting day, considering that everyone was whooping, screaming, clapping hands or using noise makers to force the rabbits out from their hiding spots. Keep in mind that this day was incredibly foggy and at its thickest you could hardly see more than 30-40 feet in front of you. This was an all-day endeavor; I started at around 7 in the morning and did not return until 7 in the afternoon. By the end we captured around 50-60 rabbits.

    This has been one of my favorite months mainly from just a lot of small activities and being able to complete things off my to-do list is always a great feeling too.

    Click HERE to read more about Ocyrus and all his blogs

  • Ocyrus, Outbound to Hungary

    Click HERE to read more about Ocyrus and all his blogs

    The first week after my blog was fairly simplistic, I managed to put a few needed things into order then I made some new friends while going out and exploring the city. A goulash festival was also held in my town this week and my Rotary had their own tent set up there. On the third week my local Rotary held a kanoeing trip down the Tíza, except they did not bother to tell any of the kids that it was going to be a 15km trip that would take multiple hours. Though as unprepared as we were, it was still great fun to be cooped up together. A few days later I took Frida and Oriana (the other inbounds in my city) to a circus that was performing in my town. Aside from other small various activities the only other major activity was the language camp in Zánka, which was amazing. A ton of fun to socialize and meet new people. Most of the teachers were pretty cool too. School is fun as well, plenty of friends and people to talk to. Two Hungarian lessons a week also help to excel my knowledge.

    As for future plans I have a few things in mind. I am trying to figure out how to get into Judo and marksmanship in order to consume some of my spare time and allow me to make new friend groups. Along with those, some minor things are to begin training the puppy myself for the family, so that it’s not crazy once it matures and I have begun planning out a novel that I am planning to start writing. Working out with friends is also a new pass time of mine, although it is not as frequent as I’d like. Finally along with everything else previously mentioned I am still studying and improving my Hungarian.

  • Ocyrus, Outbound to Hungary

    Click HERE to read more about Ocyrus and all his blogs


    I have stayed almost two weeks in Szolnok, Hungary, as of today. I was welcomed into my knew home of the Paksi family and began to start my exchange year. Can't honestly say I started off running though. The Jet Lag hit me incredibely hard and my sleeping schedule was destroyed for the next few days. However that didn't last forever.

    On my first and second day I went out once with my host Father, Csaba, and the next with my host brother Barnabas, to explore the city. I soon realized that exploring the city could only occupy me so long as Szolnok is incredibly small. I saw majority of the city in those two days. However it's noticing the smaller details of the city that start to make it shine. I had some of the best Ice cream I have ever had on my second day, and stores with randomly assorted items that are simply just fun to cruise around in.

    On the third day my host family went out to adopt a dog for my host sister. Nobody knows what breed it is but I feel it may get big. A few days after adoption the dog came down with a serious illness however and almost died. Luckily she pulled through and is shaping up much better today then she was days past.

    Another day I went to volunteer with my siblings at the same dog shelter they adopted the dog at. It was a fairly interesting experience. It was apparent that budgets were low, but spirits high. Many people were there to help out with maintaining the shelter. I absolutely love dogs and it was an amazing day. The smell of dog took awhile to leave my clothing too, but I saw it as a fair exchange.

    Family time is always important and I try to have plenty of it. Spending the afternoon at a restaurant with my host parents and some family friends to inviting the other two inbounds from my city to the house so we could all play darts with my brother. A day where I went with my mother and her mother to another city by bus so we could visit some hot springs stands out particularlry well.

    Of the three days of school I've had so far, they've been fairly simplistic. Nice kids and made more friends every day. In the growing spare time I've started to work on my language skills and vocabulary.

    On a final note, McDonald's is not much better than it is back home. Although I hardly ever ate it, the small taste of American was welcomed.

    Thank You,


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