Aliya,Outbound to Slovakia

Ahojte. It’s been about five and a half months of me living in Slovakia. I swear, the days here have just been going by quicker and quicker. It’s hard to imagine myself back in August when I was on the plane first coming here. I’m definitely a more evolved version of myself now. That doesn’t mean it’s not still difficult but exchange has already taught me how to really support myself independently.

I’m half way through my exchange already and I will say the first half was a lot slower. The first half was great, I had so much fun. I actually wasn’t expecting my honeymoon stage to last so long. When Christmas and my birthday hit is when the dazed feelings wore off. I think the second half of my exchange has been the most difficult for me, for others it’s the opposite. The same experience depends on the person. Even students in the same city and school have different feelings at different times. I try to remember and not compare myself or my experiences with the other exchange students here.

But just because recently it’s been more difficult doesn’t mean I haven’t had fun.

It’s winter time here in Slovakia and it’s the first time I’ve seen snow. I get to skiing, also for the first time, next month. I couldn’t be more excited... or more scared to break my legs.

I think it’s good to put your efforts into all of the 5 fingers (of a successful exchange) that being: host family, school, local friends, youth exchange friends, and Rotary Club. So you can try to have a good support system wherever and whenever you need it. Not all of them will be great all of the time and you have to keep that in mind.

I like to keep myself busy with the gym, cheerleading practice, friends, and my host family. I actually just switched host families at the end of last month and I gotta say it was the best timing. I feel really comfortable with my “new” host family and it feels so refreshing and comforting that I get to end my exchange living here.

I can’t wait for all of the trips I get a chance to go on. I’ve already been to so many cities in my country. I’ve even traveled to Poland with my school and to Austria with Rotary. Did I mention that I get to go to the Czech Republic at the end of this month? I’m going on a trip with my cheerleading team, and I couldn’t be happier. In May/ June I get to go on Eurotour. Every student who went to Europe on exchange says it’s the most fun they’ve had. I’m so excited for it to come but I know it will be here in only a blink of an eye It’s so crazy to me that in a few months I’ll be going back to my home in Florida where most people you meet speak only one language and the weather is always the same. I’m so grateful to have gotten to have my experiences here, even if that means I’ll have to leave it soon.

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