Polish exchange student settles in for a year in Sandy

The Weidauers were enjoying spaghetti and meatballs Monday night at their Sandy home with Karolina Jaworska, a Polish exchange student and their house guest for the next POST PHOTO: NEIL ZAWICKI - Jaworska will spend the next year with her new friend, Elisha Weidauer, 17.

Jaworska is one of four exchange students who will call Sandy home for the next year as part of Cultural Homestay International, an organization that allows students to immerse themselves in the culture of another country for one year.

Right away, it’s clear that Tim and Tina Weidauer will have their hands full with Jaworska and their daughter, Elisha, both 16. They’re both avid competitive swimmers. The two seem like old friends already. And of course, Jaworska, fresh from her home city on Poznan in west-central Poland, is excited to meet new people here in the United States, but equally so to soak up the American school culture.

“In Poland, we have to learn everything,” she said. “We don’t get to choose classes that we would like to take.”

Jaworska also said she’s excited about school buses.

“We don’t have them in Poland. And I’m also looking forward to swimming and drama.”

Jaworska said her theater department back home meets only once a week, and the school has no swim team at all. She competes on an independent team, and she said she’s ready to compete here as well, but she’s nervous.

“When I watch the Olympics, your swimmers are really amazing, so I’m sort of worried if I’ll be good enough.”

Speaking of water, Jaworska said she’d like to study oceanography after high school, or maybe something in the media.

“I’m really excited to go to the beach here,” she said. “ In Poland, we don’t have the ocean, so I go to the Baltic Sea. I’ve heard the ocean here is really cold, but, you know, so is the Baltic Sea.”

As dinner wrapped up, Tina announced to the girls that they have an 8:15 meeting at the high school on Wednesday. The news gave them pause.

“Really? 8:15?” Elisha asked. “I have water polo that day.”

“And we’re planning to go the beach that day too,” Karolina said.

Clearly, she’s going to do just fine here.

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