Student's Portfolio

Michal Vašek

2006

What was your host family’s name? Any host brothers or sisters?

    In Orinda I spent wonderful times with the Fernbachers. My host parents were Kathy and John. They have two daughters, Kelley and Sarah, and one son, Jack. My host brother and I went to Miramonte together every morning. John travels to Europe from time to time so we see each other quite often. Kelley and Sarah are both married now and Jack has engaged recently. I am looking forward to see them all again soon.

What classes did you take? Did you participate in any sport throughout your stay?

    My subjects were English 4, Economics, Psychology, Environmental Science and finally Chorus for the fun part. I did not participate in any sports, however, I joined various clubs voluntarily, for example Diversity Club. With chorus class we organized for example Christmas concert with special program. Although every day in school same subjects follow from morning to the afternoon, one never gets bored.

What did you like the most? What places did you see?

    California is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. It offers a bit from everything: from green forests and mountains to deserts full of cactuses. Weather is also more than pleasant with reasonable temperatures all year round. For lovers of urban life, there are pulsating cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles. Surfing is also part of Southern Californian culture. For those who love nature, Yosemite National Park is not far from Orinda. And there is much more...

Was there anything you disliked?

    For most of the students this experience is the first time away from their families and first experience with living with different family. Some might find it challenging to get used to different lifestyle or culture, but generally, people in Orinda, are very kind. Maybe one thing I found very strange was that people are not used to walking. Many streets in Orinda do not even have pavements! But honestly, driving such a nice cars is a good compromise.

Any advice for the upcoming student? Would you recommend something?

    I would recommend to start living as American from the first day as you arrive. Take advantage of your experience as much as you can. People from Orinda are more than happy to make your dreams come true.

Do you have any funny story you would like to share?

    Right after my arrival I was shocked by the size of everything. The bucket of butter, bottles of ketchup, gallons of milk, enormous trucks, massive 8 lane roads etc. And I am surprisingly the first student who lost some weight while studying in USA!

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