Czech Students Take Chicago
by Conor Green
This past October, the Northside community had the pleasure of welcoming 12 students from Prague as part of an exchange program. Mr. Colin Hayes, Science department, has been in charge of the program for multiple years now and has turned it into one of the most sought after things to do at Northside. Exclusive to seniors, the program entails selecting a group of Northside students to host Czech students in the fall, and then having those same Northside students visit their Prague students in the Czech Republic during Spring Break. This year, the Northside students selected to participate were Sam Tweedy, Adv. 810, Luther Snagel, Adv. 800, Justin Ziegelmueller, Adv. 804, Maeve Masterson, Adv. 804, Nina Kritikos, Adv. 801, Kelsey Tsonton, Adv.802, Bella Grecco, Adv. 800, Ella Neurohr, Adv. 807, Shreya Narla, Adv. 809, Rainee Wilson, Adv. 810, Ava Brennan, Adv. 802, and Darius Deloye, Adv. 807. When asked about why he was so intrigued by the program, Deloye said “I am always looking to learn more about other cultures, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity.” The Czech students’ stay in America proved to be an enriching experience for everyone involved.
During their time away from home, the Czech students were able to take in all of the classic sights and sounds of Chicago. The itinerary for the first couple days of the trip familiarized the Czech students with Chicago. Equipped with Ventra cards, they embarked on their journey across the city, hitting landmarks such as the Willis Tower, the Bean, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Art Institute. Their downtown excursion was topped off by seeing a Blue Man Group performance. The exchange students were fascinated by the glamour of downtown, but their trip to Six Flags the next day took the crown for their favorite event. While Prague is known for many great things, an amusement park is not one of them. “Where we come from, we only have small carnival rides that get very boring after a while. The first ride we went on, The Raging Bull, was my favorite because the drop was so huge, it was so cool,” said Kristyna Misarova, exchange student of Narla.
Even the more laid back events and gatherings proved to make lasting memories for both the hosts and exchange students. They ventured to the city’s southside neighborhood of Pilsen, in which most of the exchange students were in awe of the neighborhood’s unique architecture and authentic Mexican culture. In addition, they spent some time shopping at the north shore staple, Old Orchard, where they all enjoyed the variety of American retail stores. Perhaps the most memorable night of the entire trip though was the potluck dinner party at Luther Snagel's house, where homemade dishes were shared over laughs and stories.
In the midst of all the recreational activities, there was still an academic element to the trip. The exchange students not only sat in on a full day of classes at Northside, but were given a private tour of the University of Chicago. There was a unanimous agreement that U. of C. made attending college in the U.S. very appealing. On the other hand, they felt that the classroom sizes at Northside were too big and not tight-knit enough. However, they did appreciate Northside’s more modern building.
On the last day of the trip, emotions ran high. The hosts and exchange students headed downtown one last time for some deep dish pizza and a final glimpse of the Chicago skyline. As expected, they fell in love with the deep dish pizza at first bite. After dinner, the exchange students offered their thanks to their hosts and were very happy to learn the American slang words “clout” and “merch.” The Northside students will surely be excited to visit their new foreign friends in their home country this coming Spring.