Should I Participate in an Exchange Program?

I’ve been back in Hungary for 2 weeks and I kind of had time to think through this whole year. I asked several questions from myself and one was, “Was this year worth it?” It’s a question which seems easy to answer but after doing a little deep thinking I came up with an in depth review of my year studying in California.

If you and your family are considering in applying for an exchange program but don’t know wether it’s worth it or not, well here is my opinion after completing a high school year in Los Angeles.

This year definitely changed me in many ways. The fact that I was away from my family was sometimes hard but in an exchange program it’s good, because it makes you responsible. Before I had gone to Los Angeles my parents always did everything for me. They made food for me, they drove me everywhere, and they also helped with all my problems. In LA I was living with a host family but honestly they didn’t really care about me. I was pretty much on my own and I had to learn how to be responsible. Being more responsible made me feel really proud of myself and I felt like i’m an adult, it was awesome!

Gaining responsibility was one of the most useful things however I also changed in many other ways. American, or Californian culture to be more specific is very different than in my country Hungary. Everything is more laid back, people are really nice to each other, easy going and funny. In Hungary everything is pretty much the opposite. People are rude to each other, always depressed, and they want bad for other people. I realized this when I came back. It’s really sad but it made me feel disappointed in my country. I also feel like I assimilated with the culture in California and i’m different from other people in Hungary which in my opinion is amazing because i’m able to think differently from other people.

My favorite thing from this year was the adventures. Los Angeles is such an interesting city and it seems like it’s full with surprises and adventures. Getting the full high school experience included parties as well which I had only seen in movies before. I made so many friends it’s unreal. I didn’t have a driving license so I could have a car which made me take the bus everywhere. Looking back to it, it wasn’t a bad thing because I was able to explore the city.

My host parents didn’t restrict me from going out so I felt free. It was a wonderful feeling. I could go anywhere with anyone at any time. It felt like I’m finally living life.

If you have the chance to participate in an exchange program but you don’t know if you should go, I really encourage you to go. It doesn’t matter what city or country you go to, it will be a lot of fun. Not a lot of people can allow themselves to send their children to a program like this so you should appreciate this great opportunity and take it.

I had couple friends who didn’t want to go but their parents sent them. They actually ended up leaving the program in couple months. If this is the case with you my advice is be open for new things and view this as a gift. It’s an opportunity in your life that you will never have again.

If you have any other questions about my experience you can leave a comment and I will be happy to answer. Also if you want me to write a blog post about a specific topic I will be happy to do that as well.

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Back to Work

After having a great spring break with my parents everything continued from where it stopped.

My parents visited me for the spring break and we had a really good time. We went to San Diego and Las Vegas which was a lot of fun, but the best part was seeing my parents again. Unfortunately the spring break ended really quickly and my parents went back to Hungary.

Now I’m just living my every day life, going to school, studying, working out, doing track. Everything is the same as before the spring break and it’s kind of disappointing. I mean everything was so different with my parents and now adjusting back to my every day life is hard. I have a feeling I lost motivation in school and in many other things. It’s just not as interesting being here as before. The weekends are a lot of fun but on weekdays nothing really happens.

I have 6 more weeks left before I go back home to Hungary and my feeling is that these weeks will pass really quickly. I’m looking forward going back to Hungary and seeing my family and friends again but I feel like I would stay a little more. I’ve been in LA for 8 month now I believe, but I feel like I haven’t really accomplished my original plans. Accomplishing my plans is not my fault because I didn’t get a chance but I’m not going to give up.

Anyways I’m going to try to have as much fun as I can during these 6 weeks and use this chance that i’m still in California. Next year I would really like to come back but it’s not only my decision. My parents really miss me and I’m not sure if they will let me finish high school here next year. For University i’m going to be coming back anyways.

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Findig a School For Next Year

It has already been 5 weeks since the second semester of school started and now it’s the time for me to look for a private high school where I can go next year to finish my high school studies.

Unfortunately things have changed and become more complicated. My parents in Hungary made research and they found out if I would like to go to an Ivy League College it doesn’t matter what private high school I go to. In order to get into one of the best universities, the high school where you graduate has to have really good connections so they can help you get in to your preferred college. Unfortunately not every high school has these connections so it doesn’t matter where you go. In Los Angeles there are about 3 private high schools where they have these type of connections. Obviously these high schools will be the most elite, hard and expensive ones.

I planned going to a normal private high school but now my parents said I can’t. There is an american private high school in Hungary where they have quite good connections with american universities and many people continue their studies in the US after graduating from there. It’s actually a really good school but in order for me to stay another year in the US we have to find a better school from that.

Finding an elite private high school is actually harder than I thought because many schools don’t accept new students in 12th grade. So now my parents and I are trying to find a school where I could graduate from and get into a good university. If there are no high schools like that in LA, I might move to a different city or even a state or I might go back to Hungary.

I honestly really hope that we will be successful finding a new school for me because I love staying in LA even though not everything is perfect and I miss my parents. So if you know any elite private high schools in LA or somewhere else, please let me know. Thank you.

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Pissing Off My Councelor

Since the second semester started I’ve been visiting my councelor every days at least once, sometimes several times. For me it’s really important to take the proper classes so next year I can take ap classes and graduate with a really outstanding score.

When I came to the school I couldn’t choose my classes and I was just given the basic classes. Throughout the first semester I learned about ap and honors classes and how the credit system works. To get into Princeton, Yale, Stanford (where I wanna go) you need a really high gpa possibly with ap and honors classes.

Since didn’t get any this year I have to take several ap and honors classes next year so I can get into a good university. But taking these classes is not easy especially not in a private high school. So my plan was to take government, economics and health (12th grade classes) this year, so next year it will be a little easier.

Unfortunately I couldn’t get into any of these classes but my councillor said it’s possible to take these online since all 3 of these classes are only 1 semester long. My online classes hopefully start next week so I can finally finish my plan.

I’m a really stubborn person and if I want something I will work on it until I get it no matter what. I’ve been seeing my councelor way many times and I think she is already pissed off because of all the extra work caused by me. But this is a really serious thing and I hope she realizes how important it is to me.

But now I feel like my classes are perfect, I changed my algebra 2 class to Honors Algebra 2 and I also changed my History teacher. If I complete the 3 online classes I planned this year then next year I will be able to take 3 classes of my choice, 2 english classes and 1 spanish class.

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Crazy High School Fight Story

Everyone has probably gotten into a fight at least once in their life. Apparently I realized that fights are more frequent here than I imagined. Couple weeks ago I went to a fight after school and I was shocked about what I saw.

I personally gotten into many fights throughout my elementary and middle school years but that was a long time ago. I’ve never started a fight it was always defence. But what I saw about 2 weeks ago was totally different. Now that I think back, my “fights” weren’t even real fights compared to this. I’m not against fighting by the way, I personally just don’t like to hurt people, however I will defend my self no matter what.

So while I was walking with my friends we noticed everyone was walking to the park next to our school. When I say everyone, I mean like at least 100 students. I had no idea what it was, but my friends knew it so we went to check it out.

The fight started with 2 students fighting, they actually had planned this whole thing because they really didn’t like each other.  While they were fighting things got worse and everyone was just getting in a conflict. There were several other students fighting later.

This was something new for me because I didn’t know fights like this existed. My overall opinion about his type of fighting is that it’s better to end an argument like this, than just keep going with saying things to each other. I don’t know if other people agree with me or not but what’s the point of swearing at each other? It’s just going to continue and never end.

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Field Trip to Newport Beach

Last Saturday there was the first field trip for the exchange students. It was to the Newport Beach and we also stopped to visit UC Irvine on the way. It was an unforgettable trip for me for several reasons which i’m about to share with you.

So one of my dream came true on this field trip because we actually went with a real american yellow school bus. It was just like in the movies and it was amazing how one of my childhood dreams came true, going with an american school bus. Of course I was sitting in the back with my friends because the cool kid sit in the back. 🙂 The trip there was around 2.5 hours but it actually passed really quickly.

On the way we stopped at UC Irvine. We walked around the campus and a student who graduated from my high school and now goes there showed us around. It was my first time being in a university and all I can say it was a beautiful campus, they even had a starbucks. After Uc Irvine we continued our trip to Newport Beach.

Newport Beach is a completely different area than the Valley (where I live) and it really felt like a whole new different world. There were lots of palm trees, the beach and pretty beach houses. It’s a different type of lifestyle because I’m always busy, i’m going somewhere all the time but there it’s all about relaxing.

We spent most of the time at the port area and that’s were we had lunch. It was a really nice port with really cool things. There was even a ferris wheel at the port and we went on it several times. One thing I also enjoyed was the arcade where we could play games and win tickets.

Newport Port
Newport Port

I went on the beach too with my group of friends but unfortunately we couldn’t go in the ocean. It was still great walking on the beach. One thing I noticed that the water was beautiful, it was so clean compared to Santa Monica, where it’s a lot dirtier.

Newport Beach
Newport Beach

Overall it was an amazing day, it was great to spend time with the other exchange students because in school most of the time I’m with my american friends. It was also really nice seeing the beach because for me it’s hard to get to the beach, since I don’t have a car yet. I hope there will be more field trips like this in the future.

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Community Service

Today was a special day at school. All the seniors went to do community service for the first 4 hours of school. We went to Balboa Park (a park next to our school) to pick up trash. I had actually done community service before, in Hungary, but it was still a great experience.

Community Service

After we were done with collecting the trash, we played football, soccer, tag and it was just a great day overall. At 12:30 our classes started, but they were only 20 minutes long so it wasn’t tiring at all.

I really like that there are special days where we do other activities, and this way school stays really entertaining. I love school and I really like going there.

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