One of the many opportunities that I get as an exchange student is going on a two-week long bus tour of other European countries in the spring. I would really enjoy going on this trip, but it is unfortunately not as simple as that.

The trip costs 940 euros. This is approximately $1200. I have taken it upon myself to try and raise as much money as possible. The first payment for the trip is due in November, and is 200 euros or about $250.

I am using a website called It does not charge donors anything. The website simply deducts 7.9% from each donation plus $0.30.

I would greatly appreciate any help that you all could provide, monetary or not. I hope that you all are doing well, and thank you for taking the time to read this. The link to my campaign is below.

one month

A few quick things:

  • I would like to write something profane here, but considering who will probably read this, I’ll choose not to.
  • I’m writing this entry over the course of a week so by the time it is actually published, it will probably be very different from what it was in the beginning.
  • Some of my classmates are currently reading this which is terrifying because I want them to like me and blogging about them doesn’t seem to be the right way to go about that. (ha ha ha hi guys)

Okay okay on with the info…

One month. One month of this experience has already rushed by. I have met more Kubas (3) and Pavels (a lot) and people with really cool names that I can’t actually say than I could ever have imagined. I have gotten sick, and consequently homesick. I have tried new foods, and had so much bread and cheese that my arteries are probably ready to close up. And it has been the greatest month I could have asked for. 

It’s hard to describe how overwhelmingly grateful I am for this. But maybe this 100% true anecdote will help: I have lots of free periods at school because I don’t take physics, chemistry, German, or Spanish. During that time I go downstairs to our “vestibule” which has some oddly shaped chairs and fake-wood (or maybe it’s real wood, I dunno) tables and pass the time. The other day I was sitting there, drinking bad yet completely satisfactory vending-machine coffee and listening to Lorde. And then I suddenly get this wave of aggressive emotion and am getting all teary-eyed. In my head I’m thinking, “What the hell Allie pull yourself together it’s like 9:00 in the morning stop,” but I couldn’t. I couldn’t stop thinking about how cool my life was and how I was getting to do so many things and agh it was just like that “aha” moment. That aha moment when you fulfill your overtly emotional teenage girl stereotype. (I’m back to normal now though.)

As mentioned earlier, I have gotten homesick. I had a bit of a stomach bug about a week ago, and consequently wanted to be at my house with my family. But once I got to get back into the swing of things it went away. It’s hard to find the balance between respectively missing my home while trying not to miss things too much. I know that the winter is going to be hard. I’ve already started to mentally prepare for the inevitable feelings of homesickness and guilt that are sure to come. Hopefully it won’t be too bad.

This month has been an odd juxtaposition of gaining independence whilst losing it at the same time. I can go into the city and back all by myself. I can go places after school. All I have to do is have some money, bus tickets, and tell my host family. These are things that I couldn’t really do back in the good ol’ USA because public transportation just isn’t as good (and I would get horribly lost, which is ironic). Yet it can be difficult to accept the fact that I am going to depend on people for the next little while as well. People keep telling me, “Learning the language is going to help so much.” Yes. I am very aware of this and I am making a serious effort to learn Czech. Yet it can be so frustrating. I can’t order my own food at a restaurant. I can’t communicate all of my thoughts and I can’t talk to my teachers. If someone tries to say something to me I have to sheepishly reply, “Nerozumim jsem Američanka.” (I don’t understand, I’m an American.) For someone who loves knowing exactly what is going on all of the time, and prides herself on being intelligent, this has been incredibly difficult.

And then there’s the ironic challenge that is English class. The kids at my school learn very proper British English, which is far more different from conversational American English than I could have ever imagined. Getting answers wrong in English cues a kind of bizarre embarrassment that I hate. It’s even better when the teacher says, “You’re wrong. But it’s okay. You’re American.” I like to think that she wasn’t trying to be rude but it didn’t really sit well with me. My classmates have to learn phrases and vocabulary that I haven’t even heard someone use, even the most proper speakers. I can’t use too much slang here, which has been harder than I thought. Onward and upward am I right?

I guess this is what an exchange is. Looking around and finding happiness in little experiences and new people despite all of the little frustrations. In trying not to let the down moments turn into down days turn into down weeks. Seeing opportunity all around.

This month has helped me to become more open and brave. It has helped me begin to move past some things and people that had been dragging me down for so long. I have gained confidence and a deeper appreciation for the life that I have. And oh my gosh do I miss Mexican food (it’s been an entire month since my last taco/burrito/enchilada and I might not make it much longer.)

I only have nine months left now. A pregnancy (oh my gosh that is literally the weirdest way to think about it I apologize.) I cannot wait to see what awaits me in the future, and I can’t wait to share it with you all. Take care.

Al out.

(Song to describe month one)



school (škola)

Although I have only gone to school for a few days it has been a massive adjustment. It’s odd. Flying from home to here, nearly 5,000 miles, seems like a piece of cake compared to school.

I’ve always been a good student. I only got one B during my three years of middle school. I’ve only gotten A’s so far in high school. I’m not a genius or anything close. Yet, if I have ever needed help or had a question, I knew what to do. Now I have absolutely no idea.

Not only do I not know how to ask for help but I literally have no idea as to what is going on. In one math lesson it seemed as though they were throwing random numbers on the board (which also looks like a foreign language because they write certain numbers differently from what I’m used to.) Teachers don’t really know what to do with me because they don’t speak very good English and I don’t speak very good Czech (or any Czech). I want to learn, but it is going to take time, and I’m not very patient.

It is all very frustrating and exciting at the same time. I’m making new friends (even though I don’t remember any of their names yet) and experiencing new things. So far I think that I like my Czech school schedule more than my American schedule. I guess the point of this exchange is to take the differences and not see them as good or bad, but as simply different. That’s all that I can try to do.