This past month, four of our OHS students, including myself, went on a foreign exchange trip to Olomouc, Czech Republic. Olomouc is one of Owensboro’s Sister Cities, along with Nisshin, Japan. Each OHS student hosted a student from Olomouc last fall for two weeks and had the chance to go over to the Czech Republic and live with that family for a similar time period. We were joined with two Apollo students and three chaperones. While the Czechs were in Owensboro, they attended school, went to all the highlights of the town and region, and enjoyed the American lifestyle with their host families. These students loved Chick-fil-a and OHS saying it looked like High School Musical.
We left a week and a half before fall break to hop on a nine hour plane ride to Prague. Then we took a three hour train ride to Olomouc. Everybody then had a reunion with their friends they haven’t seen in a year. For the next two weeks, us exchange students got the chance to immerse in the culture: going to school, living the czech life, and going to all the neat destinations in the area. For the sister city initiative, we had an itinerary that included all the highlights of the city and different experiences such as the chance to meet local officials and going to a local play production.
Victoria Garrard (10) said the architecture and mountains “take her breath away” and the “culture and hospitality made it so much more enjoyable.” She could see herself going back because of her host Valorie, and all the friends she met along the way. Her favorite part was after the days planned activities, she would go eat at a cafe or pub. She said, “the hostel was a little weird,” but a fun experience.
The cost of the trip is more than a little but it is worth every cent, or every koruna in the Czech Republic. The experiences we had on this trip were memorable and will be lifelong. The only bad aspects of the trip were the amount of walking we did and some of the foods we tried, which are both part of their culture, so it was fine.
Ann Lawton Watson (12) said the trip “opened her eyes to a totally different culture” than what she was used to. He favorite parts of the trip were sightseeing around Prague, getting to see her friends again, and going to Vienna, Austria with her host family. When asked what she would say to students interested in the trip, she said, “definitely do it, it’s such a cool experience.”
This trip was a part of the annual high school exchange between Hejcin, a high school in Olomouc and Owensboro. Next year, eight Czech students will be coming to Owensboro for around two weeks. The students who host them will have the chance to go to the Czech’s home the year after that. Any Freshman or Sophomores interested in this neat opportunity contact Kelia West, the director of the program. Her phone number is (270) 314-9524 and her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.