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March 7, 2013

Local Voices From Around the Globe: I can feel my time here running out

By Grace Heneghan
Cooperstown Crier

---- — Hónap Magyarországon majdnem hat és rendben vagyok.

Almost six months in Hungary and I’m OK.

I would just like to address those who had contacted me about my articles and thank you for your positive feedback. I really enjoyed writing about my experiences to begin with, but it makes it so much better knowing that others take pleasure in reading about them too.

This month was not as eventful as the last. I had run into a little confrontation a few weeks ago, but all is well now. The previous entry I submitted talked about how my life had improved; this next article will just be an update of sorts.

I recently started taking an independent study class for European history. Let me just say, I’m so glad to have something academic to keep my brain productive. I missed having things to learn besides Hungarian and an actual text book in English. I hope that this will help take some of the work load off when I return home. 

This month has been pretty calm for me. I’ve been spending time with my new friends from school and getting to know the exchange students in my city better. A few weeks ago, in Szolnok, we had our third orientation. It was a costume/masquerade party, I’m still not sure what exactly the right dress code was suppose to be since there seemed to be a miss translation in the email. This was our last meeting that would be held by Rotary in Hungary. That meaning that it was most likely the last time all of us would be together this year, which is sad. I also got to meet all of the new exchange students, two from Argentina and four from Australia.

In school I talk to my friends, study and read. It’s interesting for me to stick to one class fully and be surrounded by the same kids every day. Even at Veres Peter I used to go to different classes and interacted with kids from other grades. I was lucky to come into a class with people I was able to befriend quickly. Many of my fellow inbounds here have changed schools too and their lives seemed to have improved as well. I still struggle with the language, but I talk every day trying to speak as much as I can.

I can feel my time here running out and can’t believe how fast this whole year is going. All of the things I’ve learned about people, culture and myself. A part of me fears I may loose those things once returning home. I think this is why exchange students usually try to hold on to their exchange as long as they can, they don’t want to let go of what they worked so hard to achieve. Reverse culture shock is considered the worst part of exchange by a majority of exchange students. I know I will be fine, I’ll get through it.

I still love my host family and continue to grow closer to them. My councilor unexpectedly told me that I will be changing families in April. This was very disappointing for me because my current family had offered to let me stay for the rest of the year. I may also have to change schools. It makes me feel disappointed, but also I’m just like: “This will be another adventure.”

Grace Heneghan is a Cooperstown Rotary exchange student who traveled to Hungry. To read more about her adventures, visit her blog at