A Great Experience That Even an Earthquake, Hurricane, Tornado and Flood Could Not Deter
Klara from the Czech Republic was placed with a host family that was a perfect fit. Her host dad explains:
It all started last year at my photography studio in Pennsylvania. I took three exchange student’s senior pictures and thought that it was really cool meeting and talking to these kids from other countries. One host mom was a local director from Ayusa and asked if we would be interested in hosting. My son is 35 and has been out of our house for a very long time. After talking it over with my wife, we decided it would be a great experience, and thought that we would give it a try. We were approved and started emailing our exchange student, Klara, a few months before she was due to arrive.
We picked her up from the airport in August and felt connected with her right from the start. She was like a daughter we never had. Klara came to my photo studio and started helping in the office the next day and was fitting right in. She is an exceptional flute player and I told her about the marching band at Dallastown high school. Band camp was already in progress, but after talking to the director he really wanted her to join. The band starts practice three weeks before school starts and it was a great way for Klara to meet and make new friends before the start of school. This was going to be her first challenge since her home town has 600 people and her new school has 2,000 students in it. She got to band camp (never having heard of a marching band) a week after the other band members already started. The director told her that they practice in the parking lot which is laid out like a football field. Her first question was, “What is a football field?” Needless to say, she was upset and frustrated after the first day but said that she was going back.
She fit right in and made a lot of new friends and everyone helped her out. Since then she has done marching bands, parades, band competitions, school orchestra and the York Youth Symphony and is top flute in each of these. One of the girls in marching band invitied Klara to her church to play a flute duet and they are now planning a quartet for the school. She is now in the process of trying out for district band.
We have experienced horseback riding on the battlefields of Gettysburg, and have plans for visiting New York City at Christmas and going to Washington DC and getting a tour of the White House from a relative who is in the Secret Service. We also took Klara to the Pittsburgh Symphony to see a concert in which world famous flutist Sir James Galway was performing. As luck had it, she actually got to meet him in person outside of the concert hall, and had her picture taken with him, which really made her day!
On a funny note, since Klara has arrived here in Pennsylvania, she has witnessed an earthquake, hurricane, tornado warnings, floods and a record snow fall in October which left us without power for five days and this was just in her first three months here! We can’t wait to see what the next months will bring.
She fit right in at school and is doing quite well in all of her subjects. She did a project for education week, in Spanish, on the Czech Republic in her Spanish class. Klara’s interest are her flute, hiking and photography. She would like to try and go to a college in America and pursue a music degree or some type of career in becoming a translator.
This has been a great experience and we wish her all of the best.