Hey, my name is Rebeka and I am an exchange student, living in Brandon, Mississippi.
I am from a small town in Slovakia, where my whole family lives and where I have the best friends I could ever wish for! When I heard about the opportunity to write an article about me being in USA, I didn’t hesitate for a minute! I am having really good time in America and I think, I should share this experience when I can.
Let’s take it from the start! I hadn’t really realized that I was leaving to USA until I was looking for my gate at Vienna airport. The moment I was scared the most was, when we paid for the exchange year, signed the contract but I still didn’t know where was I going or who I was going to stay with. The feeling I can’t really describe – I was afraid and excited at the same time.
When ICES sent the placement, with the name of the family and pictures of them, I was so excited! I kept reading it all over again and honestly, the first thing I did was that I searched them in Facebook and went through all of their pics again! And I sent them an email. They responded after week or so and we started communicate almost every other! So we knew each other pretty well, by the time I was leaving Slovakia.
As the date of my departure was getting closer, I was more and more excited. They weren’t strangers for me anymore and I knew that there is new American home waiting for me.
The flight was really long, but I slept a little bit, watched some movies and the time passed somehow. When I got to the airport I was so nervous. I was about to meet my American family for a first time in my life!
When I saw them waiting for me with the poster in Slovakian language, I was so happy! All of my nervousness just passed away and I couldn’t wait to talk to them. We went home and all I remember is, that I just went to sleep because I was so tired.
First weeks in my family were kinda funny, happy and interesting at the moments. I have two little host brothers, so this house is also very busy and noisy, but I love it! You never get bored. We are still getting to know each other, but we are getting closer and closer every day. I see that they are trying to help me with everything as much as possible and I appreciate their effort because I know that they have their own kids, but they still find time for me and I know that they always listen to me.
And first day in the school? I was really anxious about this day, maybe more than about my whole USA arrival. School seemed so big to me and they have 1000 more students than in my Slovakian school, so I think that it’s understandable that I was freaking out. It wasn’t that bad at all! People were so nice and kind, and once I get used to school system, school didn’t seem that big anymore.
Classes were totally different than in Slovakia and much more interesting. My favorite class is Business Law so far and Nutrition (you can cook your own food there). My grades aren’t bad at all, I find American high school pretty easy. Most of teachers are trying to help me and make it easier for me, fit in and find friends. I believe that being myself is the best thing I can do, and true friends will come by time.
All I can say is, that if you can’t decide whether go or not to go, definitely fill in your application and send it to ICES as fast as you can. I don’t regret anything and if I had to decide again, I wouldn’t do a thing different. This exchange year is not just about making new friends, collecting experiences and memories but it’s also about finding your American family, people who will never forget you and you will never forget them. 🙂 Although I love my American family, I have moments when I miss my family and I know they miss me. But I am enjoying my year as much, as I can!
ICES exchange student from Slovakia
(Rebeka is living with the Singleterry family in Brandon, Mississippi)