Foreign exchange students adjust to new life

September 14, 2010 — by Guilia Curcelli

The last month has been packed with memories for junior Lukas Sako. He has been to Great America, Laser Quest and Earthquakes and Gold Pride soccer games, among other places, not to mention he has started attending a new school and is living more than 6,000 miles away from his home in Slovakia.

Sako is spending the next year living in Saratoga with junior Adrian Bedard and his family. Junior Luis Javier Llera of Spain is also staying with them.

Llera has found it slightly difficult to adjust to his new life here. Sako, on the other hand, has taken to life in America fairly easily.

“I adapted to life very quickly indeed,” said Sako. “I had no problems but the time difference. In Bratislava, my hometown, it is about nine hours or less of a time change.”

Both Sako and Llera have found the language barrier causes the classes to be tougher for them.

“The classes are more difficult here because I don’t speak English very well,” said Llera. “That is hard. But the levels of difficulty of the classes are even.”

Sako finds the subjects and the structure of American school to be slightly different but says both school here and in Slovakia is interesting. He says that students have much less homework at school in Slovakia, but more time is devoted to studying.

Both Sako and Llera are eagerly looking forward to the winter when they will play soccer after school.

“I[‘m playing a] winter sport, soccer,” said Sako. “In spring, [I’m doing] swimming. And I play hockey. You know, street hockey. I want to go to [a] match [of the] San Jose Sharks. I saw [the] stadium, HP Pavilion, that was very big.”

Sako says his weekday schedule has stayed the same, but he sees differences on the weekends.

“Friday evening [in Slovakia, I] went to the discos with friends and on weekends I had matches of hockey,” Sako said. “On Sunday [I] generally studied.”

Sako also sees differences between Saratoga and his hometown of Bratislava.

“Saratoga is a very beautiful city [with] a lot of nature and a beautiful whole,” Sako said. “The city where I live, Bratislava, is the capital city so it’s … not so beautiful but there are a lot of historical monuments.”

Llera sees one of the biggest differences between America and Spain to be the diverse mixture of people.

“In America there are people of all parts of the world,” Llera said. “In Spain there are only Spanish people.”

Although both Llera and Sak are enjoying their experiences in America, they miss their friends and families.

“In one word, I can say I miss my home,” said Sako. “But California is a beautiful country and helps me forget a little about my home.”

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