Interview: Jakub Marek

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I had the chance to interview foreign exchange student, Jakub Marek, this week. Jakub is from the Czech Republic, and he is currently a junior at SHS.


Can you describe the Czech Republic? How is it different from America?

As you know, Czech republic is in Europe, having nickname “Heart of Europe.” We have different school system, drink alcohol we are able from 18, but also driving license. We don’t have some fast-foods like Wendy’s, White Castle, Taco Bell, etc. We have McDonald’s and Subway and some more. And we are driving on the RIGHT side, many people things that whole Europe is driving on the left side. No! We are not.

Why did you decide to participate in the Foreign Exchange Program?

I always wanted study abroad. And also my sister was here 3 years ago and when I heard from her how amazing it was, I couldn’t just stay at home and dream about it. I also wanted meet new people, get to know new culture, and improve my English.

You have participated in several extracurricular programs at SHS like cross country, band, and wrestling. Which one has been your favorite?

My favorite is Cross Country. I didn’t used to run a lot, because I had problem with my knee. But join cross country team was one of the best decisions, what I have made here. They became family.  Marching band was also amazing. I have never marched before, so it was a really good experience. And also I learned how to play a saxophone by myself. Wrestling is not fun. It’s hard. But it’s learning me how to push myself against pain or fatigue and do everything on 120%. I had broken ribs, but it didn’t make me to stop with wrestling.    

What are the main differences between schools here and schools back in the Czech Republic?

School system in Czech Republic is very different. But when I was in school here for the first time on August, I thought I’m in the movie. I mean stuff like lockers, cafeteria, school lunch, sport clubs. For example, in Czech, we don’t have sports connected with school. It’s more like town’s clubs. So everyone from city could be in the team. Then we have one class. It means that in one class is 30 people and till Junior year, you are with this group on every subject.

We have 13 classes, I think, I’m not sure now, one class has 45 minutes, and these 13 classes are mixed to all 5 days. So we have usually 6 classes per day. In Junior grade we could have 8 or 9 classes per day. Also sometimes some class is early in the morning. Normally school starts at 8. But some days we could have class from 7. So come to school at 6:50 and leave at 16:00 is pretty often.

What are your thoughts on America?

I think America is amazing. It’s hard to say if America better than Czech. My first reaction, when I arrived to Indianapolis was “Omg. I’m really in America!” In the beginning of December, I spent a weekend in Chicago. I’ve never thought, it could be that amazing. Because of these few couple hours what I spent there, I started thinking about moving to America. Yes, I really want to live here. It’s amazing here. Everything is so much easier. And wages are incredible here. For example: Teacher in US = $50000  Doctor in CZ = $32000. Yeah. Big difference.

Do you have any favorite American foods?

I’m not sure. I didn’t try everything. However, I think that McDonald’s here is better than in Czech. Also typical American Hot Dog is better than ours. I don’t have any favorite, because everything is good.

If we were to visit your country, what foods should we try

The one of the best meals is in Czech called “Vepřo knedlo zelo” and it’s meat, usually pork, with dumplings and sauerkraut. Also we have our special European bread. It’s solid piece with crispy crust.

Do you have a favorite class at SHS?

I don’t have any favorite class, I mean, I like Physics, Band and many another classes. But it’s because I have, in these classes, good friends. Without them the class would be boring.  Only because my friends I can enjoy my classes and basically all the time here.

Is there any cool traditions you have back home?

One of the traditions is on Easter. On Easter Monday boys are going house to house and with whip (made from willow’s doodle-bugs) and they are lashing girls butts and saying some Easter poem. Than girls give them Easter egg and some candy.

What is your favorite memory at SHS so far?

My favorite memory? Probably trip to Chicago with other exchange students, or the masquerade ball in Columbus, where me, Kobe and Taleigha won ride in limousine. Also I have  amazing memory from Indianapolis where I went with my houstfamily and we were on musical The Lion King and it was amazing.