My name is Karolina Osztoics, I am from Hungary and I’m spending my AFS exchange in the Dominican Republic. I’ve already been here for seven months, so it basically has become my second home. The time has flown so fast and I’m really not looking forward to the day of my return. I think a lot of exchange students all around the globe would agree with me right now. This time has been the most challenging, most interesting, most amazing time of my life so far and I still have three months left, in which I’ll be trying to learn as much as I have since I got here.
Obviously learning the language was one of the difficulties at the beginning, because I genuinely didn’t know a word in Spanish. Luckily everyone in my host family speaks fluent English, so it was easy to get along with them when I arrived. Later I realized I wasn’t going to pick up the language if I don’t start practicing and trying intensively. Well, it wasn’t easy in the first months, but I was determined and enthusiastic to improve, therefore I was able to understand and express myself in an appropriate level around Christmas. I reckon this is a journey that has no destination, because with every day, my knowledge and vocabulary is getting better, I’m trying to speak Spanish possibly with everyone around me here.
About a year ago, I remember one of the first calls with my future host family when I asked my Dominican sister to teach me a phrase, so I can greet and thank her family when I get into their home. She recorded me unsuccessfully reading a sentence in Spanish and the family laughed so hard at my foreign accent. We have all been enjoying this anecdote since and it always reminds me how much I’ve accomplished compared to that video. Honestly, this language is one of the most beautiful ones in my opinion and I’m proud to speak it as a little girl from Hungary, who didn’t know anything before her biggest adventure started on the best island of the planet.
By Karolina Osztoics, exchange student from Hungary to the Dominican Republic. Karolina is one of the young deserving students who received the Changemakers scholarship to participate in a year-long school exchange program with AFS.