Interview with Zuzka Podešvová

Dnes vám přináším rozhovor s naší studentkou, Zuzkou Podešvovou ze 3. A, která díky programu FLEX Czechia měla možnost na rok vycestovat za studiem do Spojených Státu, konkrétně do státu Wisconsin. A protože se nyní Zuzka nachází v Americe, kde piluje svou angličtinu, tak celý rozhovor bude… v angličtině! 


How did you get into the flex program? 

It all started when Mrs. Děcká came into my Czech language class and introduced us to the FLEX program. I knew from the very beginning I would apply. Then I told myself that I would do everything for getting into the program, and I was trying to do my best throughout the entire time of applying. I would even read every one of my essays like a million times before submitting it, to make sure it was perfect :D.   


What were the tests like? Were they hard? 

There were not any tests, but we had to write essays and do interview with Americans in English. The essays were about certain topics, that were sometimes tricky. They were asking questions, that I really had to think about and it was stressful – especially when the essays were timed. Surprisingly, I found the interview easier than writing essays. 


What interested you the most when you arrived in the US? Was there any culture shock for you? 

Oh that is a tough question. There were so many culture differences or even shocks. One that comes in my mind first is that everything seemed so bigger! And American flags were literally everywhere, including people’s gardens, which I found a little bit funny.  


How hard is it to learn English as a mother tongue? Do you have any benefits?

To be honest, at the beginning, I felt like I’ve never heard English before, it was crazy and also stressful. As time went on, I got used to the accent and fast speakers and I could feel improvement with every day. If you mean benefits in the school, then no. I do the exact same work like my American classmates. One of my benefits though is, that I really like learning English and I am trying to do extra stuff for improving my English. 


Did you find it hard to make friends? Were people open to you in the beginning, or more closed? 

People were mostly open, but it was my responsibility to take the initiative and start talking to them, they usually wouldn’t start talking to me first. Making friends is definitely not an easy task, but when you are nice to everyone, there is always someone who you can hang out with. Great opportunities for making friends are also afterschool activities such as volleyball or choir. 


What is your host family like? Can you describe them?

My host family is really nice and supportive. I have host mom, dad, brother and also so called “double placement” brother – exchange student from Philippines and 2 dogs. My host brother plays guitar and I love to sing, so we spend a lot of time together. I am grateful for my host family, I was really lucky.  


What do you like to do in your free time?

Right now I am involved in Show Choir, which is an extracurricular activity where we dance and sing at the same time. It is fun, but it is also time consuming, so when I have a free time, I usually have to do my homework, because there is always a lot of homework. If I have some free time despite my busy daily schedule I like to hang out with my friends or host family. 



What do the sport events look like? What is your favorite sport and why? Do you do any sports right now? 

Sports events here are crazy! Cheer leaders, marching band and a lot of usually dressed up people, who cheer for the team. My favorite sport to watch here is probably American football, just because it is so different and it is fun to watch (even though I have usually no idea what is going on on the field :D) and the atmosphere around is incredible! I was involved in school volleyball and I had so much fun, but the season is over now, so right now I am doing just Show Choir. 


Just to summarize my thoughts, to be an exchange student is great but also hard thing to do. It is a lot of fun, but also a lot of stress. I consider this year as an opportunity to learn and grow every day. I am excited to make a whole presentation about this year and tell students at my home school more about USA and my year, and answer all of the questions when I return home the next year. Thank you, Honza, for doing this interview with me, I enjoyed it! Have a great day!