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April 25, 2013

Local Voices From Around the Globe: Life in Hungry has taken a turn for the better

By Grace Heneghan
Cooperstown Crier

---- — I can truthfully say spring has finally arrived in Hungary. It’s almost time to wear shorts and sandals, for summer will be just around the corner. This brings me great happiness and great sadness, my adventure is coming to a close. Really what a time it was, I don’t think I can compare it to anything else.

I would just like to note that my last article was a reflection of my lowest point of my exchange, and things are no longer like that. I’ve become stronger as a person and learned so much. The truth is, if I was given a chance to do it all over again, I would in a heartbeat. I’ve learned about a country’s culture, people and more or less of their language. These things are not easily forgotten, for it has become part of me. I know, cheesy.

I moved families at the beginning of April. This was difficult for me because I grew to appreciate and love my second host family. It was because of them that I started to feel at home in Hungary. I was nervous, not only because I would have to leave what was familiar, but also my host family, school and even town. Once my new host parents arrived with three six-year olds in tow, my nerves melted away.

They ran around giggling and chattering in Hungarian. They would climb on things and make faces at each other, eating sweets and look at me from time to time. They were completely unaware that they were making the most noise I have ever heard in that house before. Their mother told them to be quite and sit, and their dad kept telling them to cover their face when they sneezed. I was unafraid for all I could see in front of me was a mommy and a daddy. That was my first impression of my third host family.

When we arrived at their house in Budaors (about a 30 minute drive outside of Budapest), I met my host brother who will be going to Florida next year on exchange. The next few days I decided that I loved this family. It surprised me how fast and strong the feeling was. I feel so at home here, surrounded by these people. My favorite time of the day is around 9 p.m. when the little kids are asleep and it’s just my host brother and host parents. Both my host father and brother can speak English, but not my host mom. We sit around talking in a mixture of Hungarian and English, laughing and getting to know one another. I think my host parents really like me and so do my host siblings. I play outside with them and speak Hungarian. All in all this family is great, I hope it doesn’t change.

Another thing, I’m pretty sure my Hungarian has improved since moving in. I understand whatever my host mom says to me no problem; I can usually answer in full sentences. It’s harder to talk to the little kids though; they just talk at me and not to me. I just nod my head and say “igen” or “jo.”

I go to the same school as my host brother, the same class actually. It is going better then I thought it would. I wasn’t too keen on the idea of being in the same class as my host sibling (it didn’t really work the first time), but it’s good. I’m making friends and just talking to random people. Unfortunately, I only have about a month and a half in this school because of Euro Tours and others things. I’m getting into the swing of things. This is defiantly the nicest group of Hungarian kids I’ve been with. I speak again a mixture of English and Hungarian.

I recently turned 16. I went out with some kids from school, nothing special. I ate chocolate cake and did a little shopping. Soon I begin my first Euro Tour to Slovenia, Italy, south of France, Switzerland and Austria. I’m very excited!

So life is good, sunny and happy. It makes the thought of having to leave so hard for I have found another home away from home.

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