My Semester Abroad – How did I end up studying in Slovakia?

by Cordell Jacobson

As someone who has made close friendships with Global Outreach students over the past four years, I can say without a doubt that Global Outreach and the people involved have permanently and positively impacted my life. How did I come to this revelation? I came to know my first Global Outreach friends on the 2016 Green Bay Diocese pilgrimage to Washington, D.C for the annual March for Life. The friends I made challenged me to become a better person, increase my faith, and enjoy life even more fully. In the next few years, I made more friendships from the GO class of 2016-2017, many of whom I still consider to be among my best friends. Because of my close bond with this particular GO class, I chose to participate in the Global Outreach summer camp in 2017.

During my travels to the summer camp in Eastern Europe, I met families of Global Outreach students who encouraged me to study abroad for my senior year of high school. I mused at this idea for a few weeks, but the idea had all but faded from my mind for quite some time. Time proceeded and my senior year of high school came and went, and amidst the hustle and bustle of working the summer after graduation, I received an email from Global Outreach leaders stating that I was invited to come and study for a year at Gymnázium sv. Edity Steinovej in Košice, Slovakia. After one college semester, I found myself in a foreign country; experiencing its culture, learning it’s language, and seeing its sights, and it is here that I remain.

I’ve been in Košice since the end of January, and every day I find myself learning something new, whether it be fragments of the Slovak language, my personal strengths and weaknesses, or basic academic knowledge from school. My first month has been filled with many reunions with old friends, the forging of new friendships both in and out of the classroom, and teaching members of my kind host family English. I enjoy helping out classmates and even strangers at GYMES with English. Through my exchange and through Global Outreach, a mutual cultural sharing and overseas connection have flourished. I look forward to where my journey here continues to.