Hi everyone! I’m Claudia, I’m from Italy and I live in the south in Sicily. I’m really glad to write something about myself and my experience here in the Czech Republic. I’m a happy person, I love to study languages and discover new cultures and countries so that’s why I chose to study one year abroad. This was my dream since I was little, I got a scholarship for this program and Czech Republic was part of my favourite countries’ list.

Basically, I like all European countries and I believe that this program is based on how much you want to learn, so everywhere you can grow as a person thanks to the new life you will have. Since I’ve been here every day I learn new things, I’m discovering a new me and I also believe that this is the most beautiful because I’m living what I’ve always wanted.  I am able to see the world with different eyes, in a positive way and I am getting to understand how beautiful it is to be able to see the differences of our world, as it is what characterizes us. There are emotions that I will never forget and I will always carry inside.

To be honest, at first it was a little bit difficult because you change life in a short time, but it depends on the person. My biggest shock was that it was not noisy at home, because for me it was something quite normal, especially because in my country we speak a lot and we are a lot energetic. I was scared about the food but I have to say that is not bad.

Furthermore, in Sicily I wasn’t used to taking public transports because we have bad connections and now I’m completely independent. Also now I help my host family to cook or clean and this is really nice to be better for yourself.

My host family is perfect, I have a host mum, host sister and host brother and I have a very good relationship with them and now I feel at home. They are kind and friendly. I bond more with my host sister because we are quite similar and she likes my same things. Even though my host brother is shy, sometimes we speak and I understand his behaviour so I’m just trying.

Now let’s talk about school because it is really different here. I study in a high school so I could say “grammar school” and as I said before I study languages and in my school there are some specific courses and I’m studying IGCSE Cambridge International School. This is not private but my parents pay because I have exams every year and also Chinese lessons. We have 60 minutes for one lesson and we have just 10-15 minutes of break (it depends on the school but I’m speaking about mine). We don’t have to change our shoes but we can stay with our slippers, and also at home we usually don’t take off our shoes before entering. In my school there isn’t a canteen so every day I eat at home. We have both oral and written tests and a math test could take 2 hours.

So… I like school here much more and I’m learning Czech thanks to my teacher because we have special lessons for foreigners with teenagers from Ukraine. Now I understand czech…not at all but of course better than before and I’m able to complete a phrase. We also have czech lessons online with AFS. With this agency we do several activities and the best one for me are always camps especially the middle one because we slept all together for two nights and we travelled by train, so I believe that is beautiful to have time to spend with other students from all over the world and at the same time you learn new things with volunteers while you have fun. But another wonderful experience was when we went to Karlstejn Castle.

Finally, I would recommend this experience to everyone because it is something that you do just once in your life as a teenager and you can become a better version of yourself. To the students who are currently here I would recommend to keep going and take care of everything because life is one and I would live it as best as I can.

I’m grateful for this and I will never forget a single moment. Thank you, I hope you enjoyed what I wrote.