Szymon with his host family on Senior Night

My October in Ohio

Hi! My name is Szymon, I’m exchange student from Poland and I wanted to share my unique experience with all of you.

It has been three months since I came to the States and met my wonderful host family living in Lewis Center, Ohio. We are getting along well and adore every moment spent together.

Last month, lots of new, memorable things have happened.

When we think about October, probably the first thing that comes to mind is Halloween. As a student from a country where Halloween has never been a big deal, I was extremely curious about how it was going to be here! Carving pumpkins, putting up the decorations, and watching the neighbors getting ready for the spookiest night of the year—it was all an unforgettable experience.

But October is not only about Halloween! It is that beautiful time of the American school year when the fall sports play-offs start! I’m so glad I experienced being part of my high school soccer team—The Olentangy Braves. My best soccer memory is definitely the last home game of the regular season, known as “Senior Night.” Although I’m only a junior at Olentangy, thanks to our coach and the parents I was pleased to be included in the ceremony. As they said, “You’re only here for a year Szymon, we want you to have great experience,” and that’s exactly what it was.

That particular night looked nothing like the ones before. Everything was special, with decorations everywhere. Half an hour before the game we made one big line, where we were all standing with our parents, waiting to be called onto the field. When the moment finally came and I heard the announcer reading the "bio" I had written, I was close to tears. It was a very emotional moment for me

That’s not even everything fun I participated in last month! The last weekend of October, we had an outing with the PAX program. We learned about Amish Culture, swam in a pool, sang by the campfire, played games, and took plenty of pictures of the beautiful fall scenery. I finally had the opportunity to get to know all the exchange students from my group better and find out something about where they come from. It’s fascinating to listen to all these different stories from people from different countries, all with different backgrounds. Those are the moments when you realize how unique each and every one of us really is. Having an international family like this is a privilege and I’m really looking forward to spending more time with them.

I’m so happy with how my exchange year is going!

—Szymon (Poland), hosted by the Koon family (OH)