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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My Last Month In Los Angeles

I can’t believe time has passed so quickly. I came to LA in August and it feels like it was just couple months ago. I’had never thought this year would pass so quickly but it’s already May.

School is almost over. There is exactly 4 more weeks left. Next Saturday is going to be our prom which I’m really excited about and I’m probably going to go.

I know it’s going to be great to go back to Hungary and see my family and friends again but I’m going to be kinda sad that I have to leave Los Angeles. I had so much fun throughout this year and gained a lot of experience.

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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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Foreign vs American Student’s Work Ethic

This is my 3rd week back in Los Angeles and it’s crazy how fast time is passing. I haven’t really had a lot of time to write this blog because I joined track and my whole daily schedule changed and now I don’t really have a lot of free time.

But anyways. As I came back I see things differently and I started understanding things that I had not before. I met a lot of new people, both foreign and americans, and now I got an idea how people think here.

So I was in my Honors Algebra 2 class with my Korean friend and we were talking about schools in Europe, Korea and America. We compared them but what we also did was talk about the students. We noticed that no one is doing their work in our class except us. We were already done with all the assignments and the homework as well by the way.

So he explained how most students are in Korea and what he said is that most of them are working hard and trying to achieve good grades in school. What’s interesting is that it’s kind of similar in Hungary too. Of course there are students everywhere who don’t care about school and never do their work but here in America that number of students is way too much.

What I experienced in my classes so far is that actually a very little amount of students work and try to succeed. Most of my classmates are getting bad grades and they don’t even care. It’s really interesting how school is not even that hard here but they still don’t want to do their work.

And of course there are other students too who are doing really well in school so if you are one of those don’t think I say every American is lazy. This is just something I’ve experienced. Another thing is that I’m attending a public high school at the moment (a pretty good one by the way) and next year I will be going to a private high school and things might be different there. But as of right now this is my opinion and what I’ve experienced.

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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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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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Fire in School

I was sitting in my desk when I hear the fire alarm going off. I thought it’s just a practise cause usually they have that every year.   Well, I was wrong. When I got out of my classroom I saw smoke coming out of the boys bathroom. It was really on fire. Soon we all got sent on the football field and fire fighters arrived.

My interpretation of what happened is that some kids were smoking in the bathroom and they threw the cigarette in the trash can which put it on fire. It was a really interesting experience because I’ve never been in a situation like this ever in my life.

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