Will Hoover

 Hungary

Hometown: Gainesville, Florida
School: Eastside
Sponsor District : District 6970
Sponsor Club: Gainesville, Florida
Host District: 1911
Host Club: The Rotary Club of Szombathely


My Bio


Szia! My name is Will Hoover. I am from Gainesville, Florida. I am so excited to have been chosen for Rotary Youth Exchange, and to be headed for Hungary. It sounds like a fascinating country. I live with my mom, dad, sister, and two dogs. I am in 9th grade at Eastside High School, in the International Baccalaureate program. My favorite class is AP Human Geography. In this class we learn about different cultures and how people and ideas spread. I also play piano, and I ran cross country for Eastside this year. I’ve always wanted to be an exchange student so that I could travel, learn a new language and experience a new culture. I also feel that this adventure will be very beneficial to a future diplomatic or political career, which is the path I’m thinking about right now. During my exchange, I look forward to meeting new people, getting to know Hungary and becoming more independent. I never anticipated going to Hungary, but the more I read about the rich history and culture, not to mention the great people and amazing food, the more excited I get about the year ahead. I’m so grateful that Rotary will help me achieve this goal.

Karneval

Karneval

Koszeg

Koszeg

Drinks at Castle

Drinks at Castle

Darts

Darts

School

School

All of the American exchange students

All of the American exchange students

Lake Balaton

Lake Balaton

Czech-ing out Prague (1/4)

Czech-ing out Prague (1/4)

Czech-ing out Prague (2/4)

Czech-ing out Prague (2/4)

Czech-ing out Prague (3/4)

Czech-ing out Prague (3/4)

Czech-ing out Prague (4/4)

Czech-ing out Prague (4/4)

Trocadero Square Early in the Morning

Trocadero Square Early in the Morning

Hungarian Border with Friends

Hungarian Border with Friends

Vienna With Friends

Vienna With Friends

Journals: Will-Hungary Blog 2017-18

  • Will, Outbound to Hungary

    Click HERE to read more about Will and all his blogs

    Hi everyone! This past month has been absolutely amazing! The weekend after I published my last blog, I went on a Rotary trip to Vienna with the other exchange students. It was so much fun! Vienna is very underrated in my opinion. It was so beautiful, especially the old buildings and my favorite part, the Schönbrunn Palace, which I found similar to Versailles. We also had free time with the other exchange students, which was fun because we got really good food and just walked around at our own pace. The first night we went to the opera. While it was a little confusing because the whole thing was in German and there wasn’t a very good English translation, we were able to appreciate the quality of the singing and beautiful set design. The last night we spent in the Hungarian border city of Sopron. While I had already been to Sopron, this was really cool because we went with the local Rotary to the historic pan-european picnic site, which was where people fled communism and risked everything to cross into Austria. It was really interesting to see the old “iron curtain” including the remnants of the border fence and the abandoned, overgrown guard towers. It was really surreal considering how easy it is to travel within Europe today. I went back to school for my first full week in what had seemed like forever. I had just been so busy between language camp, Prague, and Vienna! It was nice to see my friends and keep practicing my Hungarian. Now I’m in a beginners chemistry class which is really enjoyable. A few weeks of school passed, then we had the October break, which was a whole week off, sort of like our Thanksgiving holiday in November. On the first Saturday, the exchange students met at a Rotary tree planting in Szentendre, just north of Budapest. We learned some Hungarian cooking skills as well, which was really fun. Afterwards, I went to Budapest with some exchange friends. It was cool to walk around the city, especially seeing the Parliament which is really stunning. I went with my host sister again 4 days later, which was also a lot of fun. But by far, the best part of that break was second half, because my host family took me to Paris! We flew very early Thursday morning, and we had an Airbnb with a view of the Eiffel tower! It was such a fun trip. We met with one of my host sister’s friends from her exchange year in America, and he was really nice. My favorite part was Saturday morning when we woke up super early and went to Trocadero square in front of the Eiffel tower to take pictures. There was nobody there and it was really cool to watch the sunrise and to get some great photos. The food in Paris was also really good, with the croissants and baguettes for breakfast, as well as the macarons and hot chocolate. That trip was one of the best trips I’ve ever been on. While I had to go back to school last week, I have a lot to look forward to. Tomorrow I’m going to Budapest because my host mom has work and offered to take me. Soon, I’ll have spent 3 months in Hungary which means that I can travel throughout the country independently. I’m excited for this because it will be fun to see new cities and visit the other exchange students. These past several weeks have been fantastic, and I’m excited for what’s to come!

  • Will, Outbound to Hungary

    Click HERE to read more about Will and all his blogs

    Szia everyone! The last few weeks have been absolutely fantastic! On September 16th I went to a language camp for the week at Lake Balaton, which is the largest lake in Central Europe. It's very pretty, and the water is a beautiful shade of turquoise. It was also very fun to meet the other exchange students for the first time! I made lots of new friends and I'm excited to see them again soon. I also got to practice my Spanish a little bit since many of the exchange students are from Mexico, Argentina, and Chile. Right after language camp my host family took me to Prague, which is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe in my opinion, with it's stunning architecture and great landscape. The leaves were changing at the time and my host sister and I rented a pedal boat on the river which was a nice break from the bustling city. We also went to the Laval Tennis Cup, and saw some of the most famous players (like Rafael Nadal). On Sunday it was my birthday, and I ate chocolate cake for breakfast, in our beautiful hotel which was originally a palace built in 1620, so it's older than the United States by over 150 years! That day we went to Karlovy Vary which is a picturesque town on the border with Germany a couple hours from Prague. It has lots of old baths and fountains with very hot water coming out creating billowing clouds of steam. You can actually drink the water straight from the fountains but I wasn't a huge fan of the hot, metallic taste. We went out to lunch at a traditional Czech place and then we went back to Prague and met some friends from Szombathely for dinner. The restaurant was also very interesting, it was railway themed with all the drinks coming on a train to the table. Overall it was a very fun birthday! The next day we went home but we made it a bit of a road trip, stopping in famous Cesky Krumlov, which is known for its picturesque castle. It was really beautiful to walk along the old streets. One nice thing I found about the Czech Republic (and Europe in general) is that lots of streets are actually pedestrian only or at least have ample sidewalk space, which is very nice when there are lots of tourists! Overall just on that weekend, I was in four countries: Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Austria! I went back to school Tuesday (after missing six days) which I was a little sad about, but it was nice to see all my friends again! On Friday I actually went to a nightclub for the first time. It was for a party that was like the Hungarian equivalent of homecoming. It was so much fun, and I danced and talked to many new people (in Hungarian, of course). Today we went to Austria again to go to a festival, and we walked around and ate some very good chicken for lunch. Next weekend I'm going to Vienna with the other exchange students, and I'm really excited! It will probably be the subject of my next blog post. Ok, it's very late here and I'm going to sleep now. Jó éjszakát!

  • Will, Outbound to Hungary

    Click HERE to read more about Will and all his blogs

    I've been in Hungary for 10 days now, and I couldn't be happier! I arrived in Budapest last Wednesday night and since then it's been a whirlwind of excitement and adventure! I'm living just outside Szombathely (a town about the size of my hometown of Gainesville) which is 10 miles from the border with Austria. It's so beautiful here, and the weather is way better than back home (I wore a SWEATER in August!!!) On my first full day in Szombathely, I think I woke up around 1:00 pm (due to jet lag) and we went to the nearby town of Koszeg to buy gifts for my host sister's host family in America (she left 3 days after I arrived.) Unfortunately, the shop we were buying the gifts at was closed, so we didn't actually end up going, and we just got chestnut ice cream, but I'm not complaining! Koszeg is a beautiful little mountain town right on the Border with Austria, and its centerpiece is a whimsical church that almost looked like the Cinderella castle at Disney! It was basically the quintessential little European alpine town. That night we went to the Savaria Karneval, which is a 3 night Roman festival in Szombathely featuring food, costumes, parades, and more! We ate Langallo, which is this really yummy pizza-like thing that's fluffy bread with sour cream, ham, and onions. The next day, I woke up a little earlier and we attempted to get the gifts again, this time driving 1 hour to Sopron, which, when you look at the map, is a Hungarian city almost completely surrounded by Austria. It is called the "city of loyalty" because it was able to choose whether to be in Hungary or Austria, and it chose Hungary. It is another beatutiful town, and this time we actually got the gifts, which were hand-painted porcelain bells from a famous china store. Then we got walnut cake! After we came back to Szombathely, we went to the Karneval for lunch and then I met with my other host sister, who had just gotten back from exchange in Ohio and who I would be living with for the year. I had a second lunch (Chinese food, my favorite!) with her and then we went out for lemonade with her friends. I was very happy to meet with more local kids! We also picked out my Toga, which is traditional to wear to the Karneval. We then went to my host mom's office to see the parade, and it was so cool to see it from above and not in a huge crowd! The parade was so cool! There were acrobatics, music, and costumes, fire, and more! We are more street food for dinner and then we had this amazing grape juice! Basically, the grapes go through the same process that would be used to make wine, except the fermentation to create alcohol is skipped, so the drink is non-alcoholic. It was amazing! The next day my host sister left for America, and I said goodbye in the morning before I went out to lunch with my host sister and host grandpa! We went back to the Karneval for the last night for dinner, and ate pig leg and listened to... American country music performed by Hungarians???? It was very funny and they had such good accents I thought they were Americans! The next week I got some much needed work done with my online algebra class, as well as finally unpacking! Friday was the first day of school, and it was so fun! There wasn't much learning, but I meant some new people and the teachers were very nice and excited for me! I'm so excited to go back on Monday!!! Today we took the new family puppy to obedience school, which was fun and interesting, and as I'm writing this we are preparing to leave for the village fair, which is for our village outside of Szombathely! I'm so excited for the coming weeks and I'll keep you all posted! Hungary has been an absolute dream and my host family has been so sweet and fun to live with!

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