Hello! My name is Christian and I’m an outbound to the Czech Republic. It’s been a very fun and interesting five and a half months so far! I’d like this journal to mainly focus on the feelings I’ve felt thus far, and my general experience overall. When I arrived here, I was incredibly exhausted, disoriented, and unsure of what my future would hold.
I remember walking out of Vaclav-Havel airport and realizing that everything here is different like yesterday. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t easy at first. I remember trying to make a sandwich on my second day here and my host sister complaining about how I made my sandwich like an American. I didn’t have the best host family at first, so that didn’t help my acclimation here. I was judged for all of my mannerisms that weren’t “Czech.” Eventually however, sometime in November, I began to sort of get used to my life here. I learned how to deal with my host sister constantly berating me, and how to deal with my host family. I believe that, despite it not being the most pleasant one, dealing with my first host family was a valuable experience because it allowed me to learn how to deal with people that I might not necessarily like in situations where I have to be diplomatic.
The holidays were the toughest for me. The holidays weren’t the toughest because I was homesick however; the holidays were the toughest for me because my entire host family was in town and they were all so judgmental and rude towards me. But do you know what is great about Rotary Youth Exchange? You get three host families (usually.) That meant that I didn’t feel the despair of having to deal with this abysmal family for the rest of my year, as I knew that I had a host family change in a week!
I dealt with that host family for a week, and then I moved. I was very disoriented at first. Even though my old host family was bad, it was more comfortable than moving to an entirely new host family. I kind of missed my old room, but I realized that my second host family is very nice and understanding, and this place will be better for me in the long-run. I ended up getting used to my second host family, and it’s amazing here. I actually feel at home for the first time during my exchange. They’re understanding and kind, and they actually want to spend time with me. I’ve noticed a legitimate drop in my stress levels and I’ve had a much better quality of life. Throughout all of this, I have somehow made friends and become a part of my community at school, but now I have a great host family. My life feels “complete” here. I speak the language, I have friends, and I have a good host family. My point in all of this is that sometimes a certain aspect of exchange isn’t the best, but that’s okay! Rotary has had thousands of exchange students over the years, and has really structured this program in such a way to where, as long as you’re persistent and clever, you can always have things resolved.
Until the next journal!