Being on exchange is a wonderful opportunity to learn about new cultures and ways of life. One thing that I have enjoyed most while living in Slovakia has been trying all of the different types of foods which is also an important part of culture. Some of my favorites have been halušky and šišky. While the main goal of exchange is to learn about the host country’s culture, living with a host family also opens the opportunity to share aspects of your own culture. I have also enjoyed getting to share foods from my country and family’s culture. 

While I have been in Slovakia, I have been able to make Enchiladas and Frikadeller. I did not make traditional Enchiladas but rather the Americanized version of it, so it aligns more with the Tex-mex style of food. Frikadeller is a Danish meatball of sorts that is eaten frequently in Denmark. I lived in Denmark for a year before coming to Slovakia, so I also wanted to share some of my experience with them. When making Enchiladas, I quickly learned that finding the correct ingredients was much harder than I first expected. There were ingredients like black beans and cheddar cheese that I realized were not very common in Slovakia, so I had to improvise with what I had access to. It also realized that the ingredients did not come in the same proportions as they do in the United States as the US uses the standard measuring system instead of metric. Despite the challenges I was able to make something that tasted similar to the Enchiladas I had made back in the US.I was nervous that my host family would not like the meal I had prepared, but they said that they enjoyed it. They also commented that the flavors used were not very similar to what they were used to. It was fun to share a new style of food with them. Making Frikadeller was much easier as it is a European dish. so I was able to find the ingredients we needed. I ended up making too much meat mixture, so we had Frikadeller for a few days. They also liked the Frikadeller and we paired it with potatoes and vegetables that were flavored with spices I associate with Slovakia. I love being able to also mix foods from different cultures as they provide an experience you may not have originally thought of.  

Food is often considered to be a love language of sorts as you are making and sharing something you like with others. I have definitely felt love while eating homemade foods here in Slovakia as well as when I make food for others. I plan on sharing more food with my host family, and I hope they share more with me. I cannot wait to bring my favorite dishes back to the United States to share it with my own family. 

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