Outbound Youth Exchange Students

Outbound Youth Exchange Student 2010 - 2011

Patrice Darnell

Hi Everybody!

I'm so glad that I finally have time to sit down and write an e-mail!!! Please excuse any errors because it's hard for me to remember how some words are spelt in English.

My first week in the Czech Republic held many questions. The most frequently asked was "Is THAT a castle?!" to which I was always told "No, it's a cathedral." another question was "Why are all of the doors see through?" yes, that was one thing that I definitely did not expect coming here. The people of the Czech Republic don't think very highly about privacy so when I came here I was surprised that on one wall was a huge glass patio door where I could see directly into the living room, and the living room could see directly into my room. On the other wall there is a window that looks into the neighbour's house and vice versa, and of course my bedroom door is glass too.

Czech Republic

I tried to live with these changes but by the end of the first week I had, had enough and I took down blinds, and put up posters in the door, but nothing could convince my host parents to develop some kind of method to cover up the glass door on the bathroom. Going to the bathroom is the worst because people can see you, and my host mom has already told me that I don't "go" enough. I told my host mom about the old North American past time of knocking. My host mom shook her head and said "No, if we see that you are in the bathroom we don't look" which completely contradicts the first part of the sentence. To make up for this lack of privacy I have adopted a bathroom buddy which is actually a towel that I put over the shower doors. Effective but not suspicious. I think it's funny that the Czechs are so worried about people breaking into their houses but they leave everything out to be seen. Talk about living in a glass house. Interesting Fact = In the Czech Republic it's frowned upon for a person to drink less than 2L of liquid a day. The favourite drink of teenagers in the Czech Republic is this herbal stuff that kind of tastes like pop but apparently it's totally non-fattening. When I first tried it I really hated it but it got better as soon as I told myself that it was an energy drink!!! The easiest way to make friends fast is to drink their Kofola and smile!

On my second week I went on a 3 day school trip to Prague. It was excellent! Prague is a very nice city with some excellent cemeteries and museums but what I enjoyed the most was going to see the musical Carmen. I highly recommend the musical, but not the ballet which I saw with my Rotary Club in Brno. The ballet is nice but it doesn't even begin to compare to the musical. In Prague I made a lot of friends with the other kids on the trip who were from the older class. It's really cool because my school already told everyone that I was coming so it's kind of like I am a celebrity or something, and kids are really excited to meet me and talk to me. I have made a lot of friends with my classmates and kids from the older grade. Oh yeah! Grade 13 is required here. By the way, I was delighted to learn that the doors on the toilets/showers of public washrooms in Prague are not see through. Thank you, Prague.

I LOVE SCHOOL!!! I go to a school with 300 students and they all want to practice their English on me and teach me words in Czech (class room = cheetah). Everyone knew I was coming so they were ready to meet me and ask questions. I think that's what made it so good! My classes are Geography, Biology, English Language, Czech (the equivalent of Canadian ENG), Physics, Math, Chemistry, P.E. and Psychology. and I think that's it...

There were several nice people in my classes. There is a group of girls (and Marten) that are very nice and take me to lunch and most of my classes. They also take me around to the school because I get lost whenever I'm alone!!! My school has only 300 students but the building is huge! It is easy to get lost. Cafeteria food is just nasty. I had never experienced bad cafeteria food until now. The other day we had "meat" I still don't know what kind it was but it smelt oddly like the kibble I used to feed my dogs in Canada...

My favourite class is gym! The other day we played softball and I hit every ball and I got four hits where I ran the whole way. I've never even played softball before. I also made the boy's basketball team (the girl's don't have one) so that is a really good work out, and it's fun too! I also run around Ivancice. Which is fun because it helps me to be less stressed out. And it also helps me out in Gym class!!

FUNNY STORY (okay just understand that I am much bigger than all of my classmates) So the other day in gym (after my epic softball game) we were wrapping things up by doing a lap. I heard my teacher wrong so I thought that we were doing two laps which I was just going to jog, but then the girl beside me said that she was happy that it was only one lap and that we were halfway done. I was very happy so instead of jogging I sprinted the rest of the lap which made my classmates really happy (they're very good natured). After I was done I walked back to the change room and my classmate Katka caught up to me and she said "Wow! It is amazing that you can run so fast when you are so fat!!!" the worst part is that I think she meant it as a compliment... :D

A few weeks ago I went to visit my second host family for the first time. Oddly enough they are the parents of my current host father. I was told that we would be eating rabbit meat so I was a little bit sad but instead they decided to make me traditional Czech food with chicken. I like traditional Czech food. Anyway! My new host brother Widget lives with the grandparents and is in Grade 13 at school. We were eating the meal and everyone was legitimately staring at me as I ate. So I looked up to ask Widget what I was doing wrong (he speaks very good English) and then he said "You eat so beautifully!". My momma would be proud xD

FRIENDS Since girls in the Czech Republic don't do very much I've mostly been hanging out with boys. It's really good because for the most part they're not creepy. I like to hang out with my host brother Vit'a (pron= Vyeetcha) but he's usually busy practicing the saxophone (he's really good at saxophone). Last night I hung out with my friends Tada (pron= Tah-Dah!!) and Ondra. Ondra is a Czech gangster, which is seriously the funniest thing I have ever seen. He showed me the tag on his rediculously baggy t-shirt and it said XXXXXL. Maybe it would look better on a big fat guy. But I have made some female friends which is good. Gabriella is my best female friend but she has a bit of a rep for being a man killer in school. I also really like my friends Katka, and Marketa, Pavla, Klara and Sonya. My friend Jana has gone on a one month trip to Italy with her family so now I sit in her seat which is better than sitting by myself, but it was kind of cool that if someone was away I could sit in their spot and meet someone new in my class. On friday I sat next to a big guy named Vit (pron= Veet). Vit looks like Ryan Reynolds, but all of the girls hate him because he's a trouble maker. I personally like seeing my teachers angry, it's good entertainment for me xD. Anyways I was sitting beside Vit in English class. Not to brag or anything but I am REALLY good at English...Probably because it's my native language but whatever! So I figured that I would help Vit out before the test next week, but he seriously didn't need help. Pretty and smart, I'm just saying ;)

Alright well I hope that you have been having a good time!!! My Czech Rotary club isn't nearly as fun as you guys (no spinning wheel??) but they're starting to grow on me :). I'm actually sponsored by a men's Rotary club so they all like to drink pivo (beer) and cheer whenever I say something properly in Czech!!! They're really good natured but I think that the pivo helps with that!

I'll write you again in about 2 weeks!!!

Ne shledanou!

Patrice Darnell

P.S. I went to the castle where the movie "Dragon Heart" was filmed. It's in Slovakia. I hope your jealous!!!

If your son or daughter would like to have a life changing experience and become a Rotary Exchange Student please contact us.

Page last modified on May 11, 2012, at 08:47 PM