My name is Sydney Bednarski, and I will be doing a long-term exchange to Slovakia for my 2017-2018 school year! I am a junior now and will be gone during my senior year, and I am beyond excited! I have lived in Granville, Ohio my whole life, a small town just about 40 minutes East of Columbus. I love anything having to do with being outside, like hiking, swimming, and playing sports. I also like to travel and have been lucky enough to travel all across the country and to various parts out of the country. I am most excited to meet new people and create new memories while abroad, that I wouldn’t be able to have while staying home. I can’t wait to meet new people and experience a completely different culture than what I’m used to. I know I am going to have the time of my life and I owe all of it to my amazing Rotary Club and Rotary International, I truly have no words that can express my gratitude for this program! Can’t wait to share my experience with everyone!
I hope everything in Granville is going swell, I sure do miss my sweet little town. But I am also having an amazing time here in Slovakia..
But while I was traveling here I had some issues..
I had brought the wrong passport to the airport, (I know, I am an idiot!) and somehow it was scanned and cleared through security until I arrived in Chicago, when I finally realized that I had my sister’s passport. Tears were shed and it was hectic, but thankfully my parents were able to fly out to me (and i got to say goodbye one more time) and they stayed with me for a day until I could catch another flight to Slovakia, because I obviously missed mine. After the biggest traveling mess I have ever encountered, I made it to Kosice International Airport in Slovakia, and so began my journey abroad.
So far I have been lucky enough to travel to Israel, which was an amazing and incredible experience. I went with my host parents and my host brother, we stayed in Tel Aviv and also traveled to Jerusalem and Old Jaffa while there.
Speaking of my host family, I LOVE them!! I am one of the few kids on exchange to be so lucky to have nothing but a wonderful time in my new house. They have a son on exchange in Wyoming, and another son who studies in London, who we are going to visit soon, (yay!). I live in a village about 15 minutes away from the main town where I go to school. It is kind of a pain having to walk to the bus stop every morning at 6:50 AM, but it is all apart of the experience 🙂
In the one month that I have been here, I have been able to go hiking and sightseeing to just a few of Slovakia’s beautiful mountains and caves. One day, I kind of accidentally volunteered myself for a 12km hike at 5 am! (Language barriers are rough), but the views were all worth it in the end. If anyone wants to see pictures from my hiking/exchange, I post on Facebook often, “Sydney Bednarski”.
School is getting better too. Growing up in small little Granville my whole life, I am so used to knowing everyone and being able to spark up conversation quite easily. But it is quite different here! Not bad though! My classmates are so nice and I am sooo lucky to be with them all week. The school here is very different form Granville, much older facilities and a very different student teacher relationship. I must say if I had a choice I think I would prefer Granville’s style, but I am here to experience new things and so far I am loving my experiences.
Aside from that, language has been pretty tricky, but it is much easier to learn in this environment than in my room with flashcards! Slovak language is no joke, wow! But I can’t wait to become fluent and be able to speak more with peers and my host parents.
It has been a crazy month full of traveling and new experiences, and I am so excited for 10 more 🙂
December 1, 2017
I hope everything is going great back home! my parents have been sending me lots of pictures of home. Granville is just the prettiest during Fall/Christmas time!
Last month (November),
I was pretty busy because it felt like the whole month just passed before my eyes!
On tuesdays i have been going to yoga to relax a bit and also stay busy.
At the beginning of the month, me and my host family traveled to a famous, ginormous castle about an hour and half away from my house! it was so beautiful.
i also have been able to travel to see other exchange students in Košice! (second biggest city in slovakia).
Most fun was probably traveling to Poland twice in November!
It’s so cool for me because i have close Polish relative who i am hoping to meet sometime while i am here! First i went to a market in a town called “Nowy Targ”, i got some traditional polish candies and some booties for my little cousin at home!
then we went to (my favorite town) Zakupane! It resembles Granville in someways, it’s very quaint and is just beautiful during the winter time! (I will attach some pictures)
it was so cold!!
Second time i went to Poland was when we went to Krakow! Another favorite because it was so beautiful and historic. Poland is very cheap and most of the people are so kind!
I also got my senior pictures back! I got them done by my host families summer cabin in a beautiful little town!
(this one is my favorite because of the shirt)
I was pretty sad on thanksgiving, because it was so so weird being away from my entire family on such a family oriented holiday! But I was able to travel to a different city in Slovakia and participate in a Thanksgiving dinner/event that their club had organized for the Americans students, it was so awesome of Rotary to do that for us, we were all so grateful. I helped bake pies, and decorate the restaurant! Even the local news came to see us!
Then MY rotary club organized another Thanksgiving for me and the other 2 students in our city. It was also so wonderful, me and my host mom cooked everything but the turkey and mashed potatoes!! We made homemade pumpkin pie and apple pie (everyone’s asking me for the recipe now), we made green beans, gravy, cranberry sauce, and stuffing! It was so fun!
I celebrated my 100 days in Slovakia with some pudding too!!
Overall, it was a great month! Can’t believe time is flying by so quickly
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