Eagle County student is having fun in Hungary | VailDaily.com

Eagle County student is having fun in Hungary

Maggie Gilman will spend this school year in Hungary as a Rotary exchange student. She's an Eagle Valley High School student.

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – We’re all the same, but in a different way, says Maggie Gilman.

Gilman just landed in Hajduszoboszlo, Hungary where she’ll spend a year as a Rotary exchange student.

“Life is the same no matter where you go, but the way you live your life changes,” Gilman wrote. “It’s like how you and your neighbors live on the same street, your houses are completely different and unique. This applies to every aspect in life, and is just amazing to me.”

Hajduszoboszlo is home to five Rotary exchange students: Gilman, two girls from Ecuador, one girl from Brazil and a girl from Japan. They met in the principal’s office the first day of school, then led before the student body to talk about themselves in Hungarian, and all this before they could pronounce Hajduszoboszlo.

“We were all kind of nervous, but did fine,” Gilman said.

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They can, however, all pronounce “mall,” and go there with big groups of local kids.

Hajduszoboszlo is a small resort town about two hours from Budapest with natural springs, cold and hot pools, a water park, and a large wave pool.

They can also pronounce “spa.”

Gilman’s cross country and soccer coaches back home will be happy to learn that she’s staying in pretty good shape. Two weeks after she arrived, Hajduszoboszlo had a town run. It’s like a track meet and people from ages 3 to 90 ran all sorts of distances.

Her host dad, who doesn’t speak English, knew she likes to run so he signed her up for the 3,300 meters. She was the second-fastest woman and got a big round of applause when she climbed the podium to get her medal.

In Hungarian it’s “ezust,” or “ezustos.” Either way, it’s a silver medal and a great finish for the new kid.

Food is the same, but different.

They cook with the same basic ingredients, they just invest more time and different spices in the preparation.

But more than anything else, Gilman says she has learned that you have talk with people in ways they’re accustomed to hearing.

“When the exchange students and my Hungarian friends all hung out, I saw how much Hungarian I have learned,” she said.

Some of the other exchange students don’t know much Hungarian yet, and that makes it tough to make friends, she says.

“I spend a lot of time trying to memorize words and I speak as much as I can,” Gilman said. “That way I can communicate with anyone and make friends.”

And they have sandwiches (szenndvicsek) for breakfast (reggeli) most of the time in Hajduszoboszlo.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

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