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BHS Foreign Exchange: Ally Rudnik

The trip of a life-time, Rudnick gains new experiences and learns more about herself along the way
BHS Foreign Exchange: Ally Rudnik

BHS has housed many foreign exchange students over the years. BHS partners with several countries all over the world. BHS now welcomes Ally Rudnik joining the class of 2025 for the 2023-24 school year. Having the opportunity to learn about the different cultures abroad, Rudnik takes it all in to see what life outside of Germany has to offer.

Rudnik started off her year with three days in New York before following it quickly with the start of the school year. With Rudnik’s background in acrobatic gymnastics for the past 12 years, she decided to do her cheer audition virtually before arriving in Brownsburg and was more than happy to see she had made the JV team and had quickly gotten the grasp of things. “The cheer team has been really nice. I’ve already had a sleepover with them; it’s all just really fun,” Rudnik said.

In addition to her weekly cheer practice, Rudnik joined the softball team and has been practicing every week. Although Rudnik has never played softball before, she admits she has always been a baseball fan. As her boyfriend’s father is the softball coach back in Germany and has asked her to join the team, Rudnik came up with the idea “to start it here and continue it when I get back.” 

Rudnik feels that “through sports, you can find friends the easiest way because you all share a certain interest.”

Rudnik’s main goal in her exchange year is to be more extroverted. Although the school year has just started, Rudnik feels she has already started stepping out of her shell. “In Germany, I never talked to people like the way I do here,” Rudnik said. Coming to a place without knowing anyone the struggle to fit in was a tough challenge, but Rudnik aims to find as many friends as she possibly can to enjoy her year here.

One thing that strongly surprised Rudnik was the size of the school. Having previously come from a school with a student body of 1,700 students, she was shocked by the 3,013 students at BHS. Rudnik feels as though this is in her favor as she would not be alone in making new friends. I feel like most people still have to make friends because there are so many people here that you can’t know everyone,” Rudnik added.

Another thing that has also surprised Rudnik was the fact that all the different grade levels are combined in certain classes. But she still feels as though it “is really nice being able to meet so many new people.” Rudnik spoke about her experience in Germany with having a limited number of students in each class every day. Rudnik acknowledged the fact that she “only had four people that” she spoke to. Having that contrast can be vital in her experience here at BHS.

Rudnik knows that when she goes back she’ll be in a very different class, most likely with peers who she’s never seen. “I think that this experience will help me to actually talk to them,” she said.

The biggest struggle that Rudnik had when coming here was getting used to not having her normal comforts around. “I never thought that this would happen, but I actually miss the German things like the food, but also small things like taking the train to school,” Rudnik said. 

But still, there are many things that she is excited about, especially the different holidays that the U.S. celebrates like “Thanksgiving and Christmas because it’s just so different.”

As well as the breaks, Rudnik expresses she is excited for the smaller differences, such as driving around with her friends “because it’s just so unbelievable in a way that all my friends can drive so we can just drive anywhere we want,” Rudnik said.

With this program, Rudnik has realized many changes within herself. While becoming extroverted certainly is one of them, there was one thing that Rudnik noticed that she didn’t think would be much of an issue. Rudnik spoke about how homesick she was. She said, “I have also realized how much my family means to me.”

Before leaving Rudnik did understand how long it would be before she was able to be with her family. “Now I’ve realized how important it is to have loved ones and sometimes you just need a hug from your blood and that’s also really hard,” Rudnik said. Although Rudnik recognizes that the transition into her host family was a bit rocky, especially with her two younger host sisters she said, “it’s starting to feel like a real family, and that they are my real sisters so that’s really nice.”

For those who might consider doing a foreign exchange year in the future, Rudnik said, “Truly think about your decision, because of course I am really happy to do this program and I couldn’t be more thankful and it’s really nice here, but at the same time I don’t really know if it would’ve been better if I had just stayed home because I just miss it so bad.”

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