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Study in Slovakia

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  • genmom4
    My daughter and I enrolled in the Slovak Summer Study program which was held in Modra-Harmonia for 3 weeks in July. I had a lot of difficulty getting
    Message 1 of 17 , Oct 7, 2012
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      My daughter and I enrolled in the Slovak Summer Study program which was held in Modra-Harmonia for 3 weeks in July. I had a lot of difficulty getting information pertaining to this program in this location, but we decided to give it a try.

      I am quite fortunate to have a cousin who lives in Bratislava who was able to arrange for us to be picked up on July 5 from Vienna airport. I had no idea that July 5 was a Slovak holiday and that the bus schedules would be different. The program began on July 9, but we were never told when we could move in. When I asked, I was told that I could arrive on Sunday, but would have to pay for an extra night. (which is what we ended up doing since the classes began at 8:30 a.m. Monday)

      When we first arrived, on a very hot Sunday afternoon, even my cousin from Bratislava was shocked by the building. I thought that the room conditions were pretty nice. It was clean, we had our own small toilet/shower room. and we were lucky to have a refrigerator.

      What I did not expect was the numerous bird nests right outside of the window. Of course, there is no air conditioning in the building, no fans and no screens in the windows. This resulted in bird feathers fluttering in everyday and covering our beds that were near the window. (We are both allergic to bird feathers.) We had to leave the window open if we wanted to breathe. The temps were extreme this summer. I later learned that these were swallows, and when I came home and googled Slovakia Swallows, Martin's site came right up. too bad I didn't know about these earlier! I may have been more sympathetic to their plight.

      When we first arrived, there was no one to greet us or make us feel comfortable. There was no food available, so we set out on foot to find some place to eat. There was a small nearby town where we found some lunch. No one spoke English there.

      My daughter wanted to go home immediately, which really surprised me. She had traveled solo in the past. She was so upset by the building, and the birds that she thought that we had been scammed by someone. I suggested that we give it a day, and am I glad that we did!

      The living conditions did not get better, but the Language program was fabulous. Personally, I had a lot of difficulty catching on, and I always seemed a day behind everyone else, but then I remembered that everyone in the class besides me had taken a Slovak Course before (including my daughter), and I had not.

      At the opening ceremony, we were told that we would be taking a 3 day trip to the high Tatras during our time there. That, along with some great Slovak food, and a wonderful Slovak teacher, convinced my daughter to stay. We were up to the challenge.

      Two days later, much to our disappointment, the trip was cancelled. That doesn't say much for public relations. Part of the fee was supposed to supplement this trip. No refunds were made but the school did add an extra one day excursion to Bojnice and Trencin which was quite nice.

      My daughter and I eventually began to love Modra. We walked into town nearly everyday as the canteen food left much to be desired. The distance was 3 km one way, but we got used to that quickly. We were lucky that the temp would cool off in the evening when we had to climb up the hill to get to the school.

      I realize that we were in Slovakia to learn the language, but I had anticipated that someone at the school would be assigned to help us with questions.
      No one could tell us where to get the bus, how much it cost, or what to tell the driver in order to purchase the ticket. We walked to the local information center, and the young man there, who spoke Excellent english did not know how the busses worked. So we walked ALOT.

      When the school group walked into Modra for an excursion to the Ceramics museum, we found ourselves walking through vineyards. We asked the young man in charge why we were taking this route, and he told us that no one was certain whether there was a sidewalk along the road for the entire trip into Modra. Now, how one can run a program for 22 years and not know if there is a sidewalk is beyond my imagination. Had they asked us, we could have told them!.

      I had presumed that my frustrations with the program and lack of information came from our attention to detail here in the United States. However, I soon found out that the other people in the class, from Germany, Finland, Sweden and Thailand, all felt the same annoyance. They had all written for more information and received the same limited info that I had. Actually that made me feel better. We were all in the same boat.

      And those of us who slept in the building could not take advantage of any "cool breezes" that might arrive, as the many compatriots who were attending a different program (most of whom were high school age students), would sit outside our window and smoke and drink until 2:00 in the morning. Every night. For 3 weeks. I am an asthmatic. Cigarette smoke is not good for me. Well, neither are bird feathers for that matter.
      The woman from Finland actually had to go home because she could not breath due to something in the building. She seemed to think that it was something that the Soviets used in constructing the building.

      All in all, my daughter and I actually ended up having a great time. We were hot and sweaty and annoyed nearly everyday, primarily due to the lack of structure by the staff.

      But the classes were magnificent!

      The first weekend that we were there, we visited Trnava where we met my cousin that I had found on fb after my last visit to Slovakia. One of the fellow student's husband, who spoke English, helped us to figure out which bus to take. So we safely arrived, and had a grand time with this young man, who even took us to Zavar to meet his family, my Slovak relatives. Now that was worth the hassle of everything that we experienced.

      If you are ever interested in attending the course in Modra Harmonia, feel free to contact me. I could give you all of the details that the school fails to mention. And there are many! In my opinion, I would stay at a nearby penzion, because the program is really geared towards sharing space with compatriots whose tuition is paid for by the Slovak Government, so many are there to party when they are not in class. Personally, I like to sleep at night but actually ended up living on about 3 hours every night.

      I want to share some photos with you so that you can see all that we were able to do while we were in Modra Harmonia for nearly 3 weeks. Our trip began in Bratislava with my cousin, although we did have an excursion to Bratislava where we took a boat on the Danube up to Devin castle then a bus to Bratislava and back to Modra.

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/jrcrazy/sets/72157631672016124/

      One thing is for sure: we both made the best of our adventure as you will see by the photos. And, just for the record, I only take photos of us smiling :-)

      Barbara
    • Matchett
      Barbara, Your photos are beautiful. Made me want to hurry back to lovely Slovakia. I attended the Slovak summer program in Bratislava in 02. It felt it was
      Message 2 of 17 , Oct 7, 2012
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        Barbara,

        Your photos are beautiful. Made me want to hurry back to lovely Slovakia. I attended the Slovak summer program in Bratislava in '02. It felt it was fairly well organized. Good thing you both stayed with it. My class moved quite fast and I was stunned when I learned the Slovak I knew was the Zahorie dialect!

        I arrived on a Sunday also. Got my room and then went to a store. I loaded up a basket with food and then found out they wouldn't take U.S. dollars or Euros at the time! I put everything back and went back to the dorm. I drank some water out of the sink and went to the bank in the morning to exchange money. I only had one credit card and was afraid to try the ATM that first night. Over all it was a great experience and wished it lasted longer. Julia Matchett

        > My daughter and I enrolled in the Slovak Summer Study program which was held in Modra-Harmonia for 3 weeks in July. I had a lot of difficulty getting information pertaining to this program in this location, but we decided to give it a try.


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • votrubam
        Thank you, Barbara, for the highly meaningful account (and nice pics). I ve had occasional queries about the program, but knew nothing about it. I m glad to
        Message 3 of 17 , Oct 7, 2012
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          Thank you, Barbara, for the highly meaningful account (and nice pics). I've had occasional queries about the program, but knew nothing about it. I'm glad to be able to direct people to your description from now on.


          Martin
        • e.gernat@comcast.net
          Hi  T hank you for sharing the most beautiful places in the world. Great job. Edie ... From: genmom4 To: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com
          Message 4 of 17 , Oct 7, 2012
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            Hi  T hank you for sharing the most beautiful places in the world. Great job. Edie

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "genmom4" <geismom@...>
            To: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Sunday, October 7, 2012 3:05:40 PM
            Subject: [Slovak-World] Study in Slovakia

             




            My daughter and I enrolled in the Slovak Summer Study program which was held in Modra-Harmonia for 3 weeks in July. I had a lot of difficulty getting information pertaining to this program in this location, but we decided to give it a try.

            I am quite fortunate to have a cousin who lives in Bratislava who was able to arrange for us to be picked up on July 5 from Vienna airport. I had no idea that July 5 was a Slovak holiday and that the bus schedules would be different. The program began on July 9, but we were never told when we could move in. When I asked, I was told that I could arrive on Sunday, but would have to pay for an extra night. (which is what we ended up doing since the classes began at 8:30 a.m. Monday)

            When we first arrived, on a very hot Sunday afternoon, even my cousin from Bratislava was shocked by the building. I thought that the room conditions were pretty nice. It was clean, we had our own small toilet/shower room. and we were lucky to have a refrigerator.

            What I did not expect was the numerous bird nests right outside of the window. Of course, there is no air conditioning in the building, no fans and no screens in the windows. This resulted in bird feathers fluttering in everyday and covering our beds that were near the window. (We are both allergic to bird feathers.) We had to leave the window open if we wanted to breathe. The temps were extreme this summer. I later learned that these were swallows, and when I came home and googled Slovakia Swallows, Martin's site came right up. too bad I didn't know about these earlier! I may have been more sympathetic to their plight.

            When we first arrived, there was no one to greet us or make us feel comfortable. There was no food available, so we set out on foot to find some place to eat. There was a small nearby town where we found some lunch. No one spoke English there.

            My daughter wanted to go home immediately, which really surprised me. She had traveled solo in the past. She was so upset by the building, and the birds that she thought that we had been scammed by someone. I suggested that we give it a day, and am I glad that we did!

            The living conditions did not get better, but the Language program was fabulous. Personally, I had a lot of difficulty catching on, and I always seemed a day behind everyone else, but then I remembered that everyone in the class besides me had taken a Slovak Course before (including my daughter), and I had not.

            At the opening ceremony, we were told that we would be taking a 3 day trip to the high Tatras during our time there. That, along with some great Slovak food, and a wonderful Slovak teacher, convinced my daughter to stay. We were up to the challenge.

            Two days later, much to our disappointment, the trip was cancelled. That doesn't say much for public relations. Part of the fee was supposed to supplement this trip. No refunds were made but the school did add an extra one day excursion to Bojnice and Trencin which was quite nice.

            My daughter and I eventually began to love Modra. We walked into town nearly everyday as the canteen food left much to be desired. The distance was 3 km one way, but we got used to that quickly. We were lucky that the temp would cool off in the evening when we had to climb up the hill to get to the school.

            I realize that we were in Slovakia to learn the language, but I had anticipated that someone at the school would be assigned to help us with questions.
            No one could tell us where to get the bus, how much it cost, or what to tell the driver in order to purchase the ticket. We walked to the local information center, and the young man there, who spoke Excellent english did not know how the busses worked. So we walked ALOT.

            When the school group walked into Modra for an excursion to the Ceramics museum, we found ourselves walking through vineyards. We asked the young man in charge why we were taking this route, and he told us that no one was certain whether there was a sidewalk along the road for the entire trip into Modra. Now, how one can run a program for 22 years and not know if there is a sidewalk is beyond my imagination. Had they asked us, we could have told them!.

            I had presumed that my frustrations with the program and lack of information came from our attention to detail here in the United States. However, I soon found out that the other people in the class, from Germany, Finland, Sweden and Thailand, all felt the same annoyance. They had all written for more information and received the same limited info that I had. Actually that made me feel better. We were all in the same boat.

            And those of us who slept in the building could not take advantage of any "cool breezes" that might arrive, as the many compatriots who were attending a different program (most of whom were high school age students), would sit outside our window and smoke and drink until 2:00 in the morning. Every night. For 3 weeks. I am an asthmatic. Cigarette smoke is not good for me. Well, neither are bird feathers for that matter.
            The woman from Finland actually had to go home because she could not breath due to something in the building. She seemed to think that it was something that the Soviets used in constructing the building.

            All in all, my daughter and I actually ended up having a great time. We were hot and sweaty and annoyed nearly everyday, primarily due to the lack of structure by the staff.

            But the classes were magnificent!

            The first weekend that we were there, we visited Trnava where we met my cousin that I had found on fb after my last visit to Slovakia. One of the fellow student's husband, who spoke English, helped us to figure out which bus to take. So we safely arrived, and had a grand time with this young man, who even took us to Zavar to meet his family, my Slovak relatives. Now that was worth the hassle of everything that we experienced.

            If you are ever interested in attending the course in Modra Harmonia, feel free to contact me. I could give you all of the details that the school fails to mention. And there are many! In my opinion, I would stay at a nearby penzion, because the program is really geared towards sharing space with compatriots whose tuition is paid for by the Slovak Government, so many are there to party when they are not in class. Personally, I like to sleep at night but actually ended up living on about 3 hours every night.

            I want to share some photos with you so that you can see all that we were able to do while we were in Modra Harmonia for nearly 3 weeks. Our trip began in Bratislava with my cousin, although we did have an excursion to Bratislava where we took a boat on the Danube up to Devin castle then a bus to Bratislava and back to Modra.

            http://www.flickr.com/photos/jrcrazy/sets/72157631672016124/

            One thing is for sure: we both made the best of our adventure as you will see by the photos. And, just for the record, I only take photos of us smiling :-)

            Barbara




            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Katherine
            ... From: genmom4 To: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com Sent: Sun, 07 Oct 2012 15:05:40 -0400 (EDT) Subject: [Slovak-World] Study in Slovakia
            Message 5 of 17 , Oct 7, 2012
            • 0 Attachment
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: genmom4 <geismom@...>
              To: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Sun, 07 Oct 2012 15:05:40 -0400 (EDT)
              Subject: [Slovak-World] Study in Slovakia





              My daughter and I enrolled in the Slovak Summer Study program which was held in Modra-Harmonia for 3 weeks in July. I had a lot of difficulty getting information pertaining to this program in this location, but we decided to give it a try.

              I am quite fortunate to have a cousin who lives in Bratislava who was able to arrange for us to be picked up on July 5 from Vienna airport. I had no idea that July 5 was a Slovak holiday and that the bus schedules would be different. The program began on July 9, but we were never told when we could move in. When I asked, I was told that I could arrive on Sunday, but would have to pay for an extra night. (which is what we ended up doing since the classes began at 8:30 a.m. Monday)

              When we first arrived, on a very hot Sunday afternoon, even my cousin from Bratislava was shocked by the building. I thought that the room conditions were pretty nice. It was clean, we had our own small toilet/shower room. and we were lucky to have a refrigerator.

              What I did not expect was the numerous bird nests right outside of the window. Of course, there is no air conditioning in the building, no fans and no screens in the windows. This resulted in bird feathers fluttering in everyday and covering our beds that were near the window. (We are both allergic to bird feathers.) We had to leave the window open if we wanted to breathe. The temps were extreme this summer. I later learned that these were swallows, and when I came home and googled Slovakia Swallows, Martin's site came right up. too bad I didn't know about these earlier! I may have been more sympathetic to their plight.

              When we first arrived, there was no one to greet us or make us feel comfortable. There was no food available, so we set out on foot to find some place to eat. There was a small nearby town where we found some lunch. No one spoke English there.

              My daughter wanted to go home immediately, which really surprised me. She had traveled solo in the past. She was so upset by the building, and the birds that she thought that we had been scammed by someone. I suggested that we give it a day, and am I glad that we did!

              The living conditions did not get better, but the Language program was fabulous. Personally, I had a lot of difficulty catching on, and I always seemed a day behind everyone else, but then I remembered that everyone in the class besides me had taken a Slovak Course before (including my daughter), and I had not.

              At the opening ceremony, we were told that we would be taking a 3 day trip to the high Tatras during our time there. That, along with some great Slovak food, and a wonderful Slovak teacher, convinced my daughter to stay. We were up to the challenge.

              Two days later, much to our disappointment, the trip was cancelled. That doesn't say much for public relations. Part of the fee was supposed to supplement this trip. No refunds were made but the school did add an extra one day excursion to Bojnice and Trencin which was quite nice.

              My daughter and I eventually began to love Modra. We walked into town nearly everyday as the canteen food left much to be desired. The distance was 3 km one way, but we got used to that quickly. We were lucky that the temp would cool off in the evening when we had to climb up the hill to get to the school.

              I realize that we were in Slovakia to learn the language, but I had anticipated that someone at the school would be assigned to help us with questions.
              No one could tell us where to get the bus, how much it cost, or what to tell the driver in order to purchase the ticket. We walked to the local information center, and the young man there, who spoke Excellent english did not know how the busses worked. So we walked ALOT.

              When the school group walked into Modra for an excursion to the Ceramics museum, we found ourselves walking through vineyards. We asked the young man in charge why we were taking this route, and he told us that no one was certain whether there was a sidewalk along the road for the entire trip into Modra. Now, how one can run a program for 22 years and not know if there is a sidewalk is beyond my imagination. Had they asked us, we could have told them!.

              I had presumed that my frustrations with the program and lack of information came from our attention to detail here in the United States. However, I soon found out that the other people in the class, from Germany, Finland, Sweden and Thailand, all felt the same annoyance. They had all written for more information and received the same limited info that I had. Actually that made me feel better. We were all in the same boat.

              And those of us who slept in the building could not take advantage of any "cool breezes" that might arrive, as the many compatriots who were attending a different program (most of whom were high school age students), would sit outside our window and smoke and drink until 2:00 in the morning. Every night. For 3 weeks. I am an asthmatic. Cigarette smoke is not good for me. Well, neither are bird feathers for that matter.
              The woman from Finland actually had to go home because she could not breath due to something in the building. She seemed to think that it was something that the Soviets used in constructing the building.

              All in all, my daughter and I actually ended up having a great time. We were hot and sweaty and annoyed nearly everyday, primarily due to the lack of structure by the staff.

              But the classes were magnificent!

              The first weekend that we were there, we visited Trnava where we met my cousin that I had found on fb after my last visit to Slovakia. One of the fellow student's husband, who spoke English, helped us to figure out which bus to take. So we safely arrived, and had a grand time with this young man, who even took us to Zavar to meet his family, my Slovak relatives. Now that was worth the hassle of everything that we experienced.

              If you are ever interested in attending the course in Modra Harmonia, feel free to contact me. I could give you all of the details that the school fails to mention. And there are many! In my opinion, I would stay at a nearby penzion, because the program is really geared towards sharing space with compatriots whose tuition is paid for by the Slovak Government, so many are there to party when they are not in class. Personally, I like to sleep at night but actually ended up living on about 3 hours every night.

              I want to share some photos with you so that you can see all that we were able to do while we were in Modra Harmonia for nearly 3 weeks. Our trip began in Bratislava with my cousin, although we did have an excursion to Bratislava where we took a boat on the Danube up to Devin castle then a bus to Bratislava and back to Modra.

              http://www.flickr.com/photos/jrcrazy/sets/72157631672016124/

              One thing is for sure: we both made the best of our adventure as you will see by the photos. And, just for the record, I only take photos of us smiling :-)

              Barbara




              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Caye Caswick
              Barbara, thanks so much for sharing. Unfortunately, we in America are quite spoiled -- very few hotels in Europe (or anywhere overseas I ve traveled) have air
              Message 6 of 17 , Oct 7, 2012
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                Barbara, thanks so much for sharing.

                Unfortunately, we in America are quite spoiled -- very few hotels in Europe (or anywhere overseas I've traveled) have air conditioning -- Europeans are very ecological and live much simpler lives than we do -- and as you learned walk way more than we do.  Glad you didn't give up the ship and enjoyed your time.




                ________________________________
                From: genmom4 <geismom@...>
                To: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Sunday, October 7, 2012 2:05 PM
                Subject: [Slovak-World] Study in Slovakia


                 
                My daughter and I enrolled in the Slovak Summer Study program which was held in Modra-Harmonia for 3 weeks in July. I had a lot of difficulty getting information pertaining to this program in this location, but we decided to give it a try.

                I am quite fortunate to have a cousin who lives in Bratislava who was able to arrange for us to be picked up on July 5 from Vienna airport. I had no idea that July 5 was a Slovak holiday and that the bus schedules would be different. The program began on July 9, but we were never told when we could move in. When I asked, I was told that I could arrive on Sunday, but would have to pay for an extra night. (which is what we ended up doing since the classes began at 8:30 a.m. Monday)

                When we first arrived, on a very hot Sunday afternoon, even my cousin from Bratislava was shocked by the building. I thought that the room conditions were pretty nice. It was clean, we had our own small toilet/shower room. and we were lucky to have a refrigerator.

                What I did not expect was the numerous bird nests right outside of the window. Of course, there is no air conditioning in the building, no fans and no screens in the windows. This resulted in bird feathers fluttering in everyday and covering our beds that were near the window. (We are both allergic to bird feathers.) We had to leave the window open if we wanted to breathe. The temps were extreme this summer. I later learned that these were swallows, and when I came home and googled Slovakia Swallows, Martin's site came right up. too bad I didn't know about these earlier! I may have been more sympathetic to their plight.

                When we first arrived, there was no one to greet us or make us feel comfortable. There was no food available, so we set out on foot to find some place to eat. There was a small nearby town where we found some lunch. No one spoke English there.

                My daughter wanted to go home immediately, which really surprised me. She had traveled solo in the past. She was so upset by the building, and the birds that she thought that we had been scammed by someone. I suggested that we give it a day, and am I glad that we did!

                The living conditions did not get better, but the Language program was fabulous. Personally, I had a lot of difficulty catching on, and I always seemed a day behind everyone else, but then I remembered that everyone in the class besides me had taken a Slovak Course before (including my daughter), and I had not.

                At the opening ceremony, we were told that we would be taking a 3 day trip to the high Tatras during our time there. That, along with some great Slovak food, and a wonderful Slovak teacher, convinced my daughter to stay. We were up to the challenge.

                Two days later, much to our disappointment, the trip was cancelled. That doesn't say much for public relations. Part of the fee was supposed to supplement this trip. No refunds were made but the school did add an extra one day excursion to Bojnice and Trencin which was quite nice.

                My daughter and I eventually began to love Modra. We walked into town nearly everyday as the canteen food left much to be desired. The distance was 3 km one way, but we got used to that quickly. We were lucky that the temp would cool off in the evening when we had to climb up the hill to get to the school.

                I realize that we were in Slovakia to learn the language, but I had anticipated that someone at the school would be assigned to help us with questions.
                No one could tell us where to get the bus, how much it cost, or what to tell the driver in order to purchase the ticket. We walked to the local information center, and the young man there, who spoke Excellent english did not know how the busses worked. So we walked ALOT.

                When the school group walked into Modra for an excursion to the Ceramics museum, we found ourselves walking through vineyards. We asked the young man in charge why we were taking this route, and he told us that no one was certain whether there was a sidewalk along the road for the entire trip into Modra. Now, how one can run a program for 22 years and not know if there is a sidewalk is beyond my imagination. Had they asked us, we could have told them!.

                I had presumed that my frustrations with the program and lack of information came from our attention to detail here in the United States. However, I soon found out that the other people in the class, from Germany, Finland, Sweden and Thailand, all felt the same annoyance. They had all written for more information and received the same limited info that I had. Actually that made me feel better. We were all in the same boat.

                And those of us who slept in the building could not take advantage of any "cool breezes" that might arrive, as the many compatriots who were attending a different program (most of whom were high school age students), would sit outside our window and smoke and drink until 2:00 in the morning. Every night. For 3 weeks. I am an asthmatic. Cigarette smoke is not good for me. Well, neither are bird feathers for that matter.
                The woman from Finland actually had to go home because she could not breath due to something in the building. She seemed to think that it was something that the Soviets used in constructing the building.

                All in all, my daughter and I actually ended up having a great time. We were hot and sweaty and annoyed nearly everyday, primarily due to the lack of structure by the staff.

                But the classes were magnificent!

                The first weekend that we were there, we visited Trnava where we met my cousin that I had found on fb after my last visit to Slovakia. One of the fellow student's husband, who spoke English, helped us to figure out which bus to take. So we safely arrived, and had a grand time with this young man, who even took us to Zavar to meet his family, my Slovak relatives. Now that was worth the hassle of everything that we experienced.

                If you are ever interested in attending the course in Modra Harmonia, feel free to contact me. I could give you all of the details that the school fails to mention. And there are many! In my opinion, I would stay at a nearby penzion, because the program is really geared towards sharing space with compatriots whose tuition is paid for by the Slovak Government, so many are there to party when they are not in class. Personally, I like to sleep at night but actually ended up living on about 3 hours every night.

                I want to share some photos with you so that you can see all that we were able to do while we were in Modra Harmonia for nearly 3 weeks. Our trip began in Bratislava with my cousin, although we did have an excursion to Bratislava where we took a boat on the Danube up to Devin castle then a bus to Bratislava and back to Modra.

                http://www.flickr.com/photos/jrcrazy/sets/72157631672016124/

                One thing is for sure: we both made the best of our adventure as you will see by the photos. And, just for the record, I only take photos of us smiling :-)

                Barbara




                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • jenna-m
                Thanks for sharing your photos and experiences, Barbara!  I am envious that you got to immerse yourself in such a language study program.   By the way, in
                Message 7 of 17 , Oct 7, 2012
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                  Thanks for sharing your photos and experiences, Barbara!  I am envious that you got to immerse yourself in such a language study program.
                   
                  By the way, in the one photo, there is a pic of St. John Church in Modra. Do you know what style church that is? I saw some beautiful little "rounded" churches of similar construction design. One in Sarisske Michalany, and another older original church in Siroke before they built the newer modern one, there. I think they are just really lovely.
                   
                  Jenna


                  ________________________________
                  From: genmom4 <geismom@...>
                  To: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Sunday, October 7, 2012 3:05 PM
                  Subject: [Slovak-World] Study in Slovakia



                   

                  My daughter and I enrolled in the Slovak Summer Study program which was held in Modra-Harmonia for 3 weeks in July. I had a lot of difficulty getting information pertaining to this program in this location, but we decided to give it a try.

                  I am quite fortunate to have a cousin who lives in Bratislava who was able to arrange for us to be picked up on July 5 from Vienna airport. I had no idea that July 5 was a Slovak holiday and that the bus schedules would be different. The program began on July 9, but we were never told when we could move in. When I asked, I was told that I could arrive on Sunday, but would have to pay for an extra night. (which is what we ended up doing since the classes began at 8:30 a.m. Monday)

                  When we first arrived, on a very hot Sunday afternoon, even my cousin from Bratislava was shocked by the building. I thought that the room conditions were pretty nice. It was clean, we had our own small toilet/shower room. and we were lucky to have a refrigerator.

                  What I did not expect was the numerous bird nests right outside of the window. Of course, there is no air conditioning in the building, no fans and no screens in the windows. This resulted in bird feathers fluttering in everyday and covering our beds that were near the window. (We are both allergic to bird feathers.) We had to leave the window open if we wanted to breathe. The temps were extreme this summer. I later learned that these were swallows, and when I came home and googled Slovakia Swallows, Martin's site came right up. too bad I didn't know about these earlier! I may have been more sympathetic to their plight.

                  When we first arrived, there was no one to greet us or make us feel comfortable. There was no food available, so we set out on foot to find some place to eat. There was a small nearby town where we found some lunch. No one spoke English there.

                  My daughter wanted to go home immediately, which really surprised me. She had traveled solo in the past. She was so upset by the building, and the birds that she thought that we had been scammed by someone. I suggested that we give it a day, and am I glad that we did!

                  The living conditions did not get better, but the Language program was fabulous. Personally, I had a lot of difficulty catching on, and I always seemed a day behind everyone else, but then I remembered that everyone in the class besides me had taken a Slovak Course before (including my daughter), and I had not.

                  At the opening ceremony, we were told that we would be taking a 3 day trip to the high Tatras during our time there. That, along with some great Slovak food, and a wonderful Slovak teacher, convinced my daughter to stay. We were up to the challenge.

                  Two days later, much to our disappointment, the trip was cancelled. That doesn't say much for public relations. Part of the fee was supposed to supplement this trip. No refunds were made but the school did add an extra one day excursion to Bojnice and Trencin which was quite nice.

                  My daughter and I eventually began to love Modra. We walked into town nearly everyday as the canteen food left much to be desired. The distance was 3 km one way, but we got used to that quickly. We were lucky that the temp would cool off in the evening when we had to climb up the hill to get to the school.

                  I realize that we were in Slovakia to learn the language, but I had anticipated that someone at the school would be assigned to help us with questions.
                  No one could tell us where to get the bus, how much it cost, or what to tell the driver in order to purchase the ticket. We walked to the local information center, and the young man there, who spoke Excellent english did not know how the busses worked. So we walked ALOT.

                  When the school group walked into Modra for an excursion to the Ceramics museum, we found ourselves walking through vineyards. We asked the young man in charge why we were taking this route, and he told us that no one was certain whether there was a sidewalk along the road for the entire trip into Modra. Now, how one can run a program for 22 years and not know if there is a sidewalk is beyond my imagination. Had they asked us, we could have told them!.

                  I had presumed that my frustrations with the program and lack of information came from our attention to detail here in the United States. However, I soon found out that the other people in the class, from Germany, Finland, Sweden and Thailand, all felt the same annoyance. They had all written for more information and received the same limited info that I had. Actually that made me feel better. We were all in the same boat.

                  And those of us who slept in the building could not take advantage of any "cool breezes" that might arrive, as the many compatriots who were attending a different program (most of whom were high school age students), would sit outside our window and smoke and drink until 2:00 in the morning. Every night. For 3 weeks. I am an asthmatic. Cigarette smoke is not good for me. Well, neither are bird feathers for that matter.
                  The woman from Finland actually had to go home because she could not breath due to something in the building. She seemed to think that it was something that the Soviets used in constructing the building.

                  All in all, my daughter and I actually ended up having a great time. We were hot and sweaty and annoyed nearly everyday, primarily due to the lack of structure by the staff.

                  But the classes were magnificent!

                  The first weekend that we were there, we visited Trnava where we met my cousin that I had found on fb after my last visit to Slovakia. One of the fellow student's husband, who spoke English, helped us to figure out which bus to take. So we safely arrived, and had a grand time with this young man, who even took us to Zavar to meet his family, my Slovak relatives. Now that was worth the hassle of everything that we experienced.

                  If you are ever interested in attending the course in Modra Harmonia, feel free to contact me. I could give you all of the details that the school fails to mention. And there are many! In my opinion, I would stay at a nearby penzion, because the program is really geared towards sharing space with compatriots whose tuition is paid for by the Slovak Government, so many are there to party when they are not in class. Personally, I like to sleep at night but actually ended up living on about 3 hours every night.

                  I want to share some photos with you so that you can see all that we were able to do while we were in Modra Harmonia for nearly 3 weeks. Our trip began in Bratislava with my cousin, although we did have an excursion to Bratislava where we took a boat on the Danube up to Devin castle then a bus to Bratislava and back to Modra.

                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/jrcrazy/sets/72157631672016124/

                  One thing is for sure: we both made the best of our adventure as you will see by the photos. And, just for the record, I only take photos of us smiling :-)

                  Barbara




                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • marycayd@willex.com
                  Thanks Katherine. Liked seeing these pics. From: Katherine Sent: Sunday, October 07, 2012 6:18 PM To: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com Subject: Re: [Slovak-World]
                  Message 8 of 17 , Oct 7, 2012
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Thanks Katherine. Liked seeing these pics.

                    From: Katherine
                    Sent: Sunday, October 07, 2012 6:18 PM
                    To: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [Slovak-World] Study in Slovakia




                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: genmom4 <mailto:geismom%40comcast.net>
                    To: mailto:Slovak-World%40yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Sun, 07 Oct 2012 15:05:40 -0400 (EDT)
                    Subject: [Slovak-World] Study in Slovakia

                    My daughter and I enrolled in the Slovak Summer Study program which was held in Modra-Harmonia for 3 weeks in July. I had a lot of difficulty getting information pertaining to this program in this location, but we decided to give it a try.

                    I am quite fortunate to have a cousin who lives in Bratislava who was able to arrange for us to be picked up on July 5 from Vienna airport. I had no idea that July 5 was a Slovak holiday and that the bus schedules would be different. The program began on July 9, but we were never told when we could move in. When I asked, I was told that I could arrive on Sunday, but would have to pay for an extra night. (which is what we ended up doing since the classes began at 8:30 a.m. Monday)

                    When we first arrived, on a very hot Sunday afternoon, even my cousin from Bratislava was shocked by the building. I thought that the room conditions were pretty nice. It was clean, we had our own small toilet/shower room. and we were lucky to have a refrigerator.

                    What I did not expect was the numerous bird nests right outside of the window. Of course, there is no air conditioning in the building, no fans and no screens in the windows. This resulted in bird feathers fluttering in everyday and covering our beds that were near the window. (We are both allergic to bird feathers.) We had to leave the window open if we wanted to breathe. The temps were extreme this summer. I later learned that these were swallows, and when I came home and googled Slovakia Swallows, Martin's site came right up. too bad I didn't know about these earlier! I may have been more sympathetic to their plight.

                    When we first arrived, there was no one to greet us or make us feel comfortable. There was no food available, so we set out on foot to find some place to eat. There was a small nearby town where we found some lunch. No one spoke English there.

                    My daughter wanted to go home immediately, which really surprised me. She had traveled solo in the past. She was so upset by the building, and the birds that she thought that we had been scammed by someone. I suggested that we give it a day, and am I glad that we did!

                    The living conditions did not get better, but the Language program was fabulous. Personally, I had a lot of difficulty catching on, and I always seemed a day behind everyone else, but then I remembered that everyone in the class besides me had taken a Slovak Course before (including my daughter), and I had not.

                    At the opening ceremony, we were told that we would be taking a 3 day trip to the high Tatras during our time there. That, along with some great Slovak food, and a wonderful Slovak teacher, convinced my daughter to stay. We were up to the challenge.

                    Two days later, much to our disappointment, the trip was cancelled. That doesn't say much for public relations. Part of the fee was supposed to supplement this trip. No refunds were made but the school did add an extra one day excursion to Bojnice and Trencin which was quite nice.

                    My daughter and I eventually began to love Modra. We walked into town nearly everyday as the canteen food left much to be desired. The distance was 3 km one way, but we got used to that quickly. We were lucky that the temp would cool off in the evening when we had to climb up the hill to get to the school.

                    I realize that we were in Slovakia to learn the language, but I had anticipated that someone at the school would be assigned to help us with questions.
                    No one could tell us where to get the bus, how much it cost, or what to tell the driver in order to purchase the ticket. We walked to the local information center, and the young man there, who spoke Excellent english did not know how the busses worked. So we walked ALOT.

                    When the school group walked into Modra for an excursion to the Ceramics museum, we found ourselves walking through vineyards. We asked the young man in charge why we were taking this route, and he told us that no one was certain whether there was a sidewalk along the road for the entire trip into Modra. Now, how one can run a program for 22 years and not know if there is a sidewalk is beyond my imagination. Had they asked us, we could have told them!.

                    I had presumed that my frustrations with the program and lack of information came from our attention to detail here in the United States. However, I soon found out that the other people in the class, from Germany, Finland, Sweden and Thailand, all felt the same annoyance. They had all written for more information and received the same limited info that I had. Actually that made me feel better. We were all in the same boat.

                    And those of us who slept in the building could not take advantage of any "cool breezes" that might arrive, as the many compatriots who were attending a different program (most of whom were high school age students), would sit outside our window and smoke and drink until 2:00 in the morning. Every night. For 3 weeks. I am an asthmatic. Cigarette smoke is not good for me. Well, neither are bird feathers for that matter.
                    The woman from Finland actually had to go home because she could not breath due to something in the building. She seemed to think that it was something that the Soviets used in constructing the building.

                    All in all, my daughter and I actually ended up having a great time. We were hot and sweaty and annoyed nearly everyday, primarily due to the lack of structure by the staff.

                    But the classes were magnificent!

                    The first weekend that we were there, we visited Trnava where we met my cousin that I had found on fb after my last visit to Slovakia. One of the fellow student's husband, who spoke English, helped us to figure out which bus to take. So we safely arrived, and had a grand time with this young man, who even took us to Zavar to meet his family, my Slovak relatives. Now that was worth the hassle of everything that we experienced.

                    If you are ever interested in attending the course in Modra Harmonia, feel free to contact me. I could give you all of the details that the school fails to mention. And there are many! In my opinion, I would stay at a nearby penzion, because the program is really geared towards sharing space with compatriots whose tuition is paid for by the Slovak Government, so many are there to party when they are not in class. Personally, I like to sleep at night but actually ended up living on about 3 hours every night.

                    I want to share some photos with you so that you can see all that we were able to do while we were in Modra Harmonia for nearly 3 weeks. Our trip began in Bratislava with my cousin, although we did have an excursion to Bratislava where we took a boat on the Danube up to Devin castle then a bus to Bratislava and back to Modra.

                    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jrcrazy/sets/72157631672016124/

                    One thing is for sure: we both made the best of our adventure as you will see by the photos. And, just for the record, I only take photos of us smiling :-)

                    Barbara

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Tonya Harmon
                    Thank you, Barbara, for sharing. I had thought about taking that class this summer too. I loved your story and how you two stuck with it, and your pictures
                    Message 9 of 17 , Oct 8, 2012
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                      Thank you, Barbara, for sharing. I had thought about taking that class this
                      summer too. I loved your story and how you two stuck with it, and your
                      pictures are beautiful. Thanks for making me smile today :).

                      --
                      Tonya


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • whiteox_nelson
                      Thanks for sharing those pics! They were wonderful. I loved the music. The cacophany of those sounds brings back memories for me. Peter M.
                      Message 10 of 17 , Oct 8, 2012
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Thanks for sharing those pics! They were wonderful.
                        I loved the music. The cacophany of those sounds brings back memories for me.

                        Peter M.

                        --- In Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com, "genmom4" <geismom@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > My daughter and I enrolled in the Slovak Summer Study program which was held in Modra-Harmonia for 3 weeks in July. I had a lot of difficulty getting information pertaining to this program in this location, but we decided to give it a try.
                        >
                        > I am quite fortunate to have a cousin who lives in Bratislava who was able to arrange for us to be picked up on July 5 from Vienna airport. I had no idea that July 5 was a Slovak holiday and that the bus schedules would be different. The program began on July 9, but we were never told when we could move in. When I asked, I was told that I could arrive on Sunday, but would have to pay for an extra night. (which is what we ended up doing since the classes began at 8:30 a.m. Monday)
                        >
                        > When we first arrived, on a very hot Sunday afternoon, even my cousin from Bratislava was shocked by the building. I thought that the room conditions were pretty nice. It was clean, we had our own small toilet/shower room. and we were lucky to have a refrigerator.
                        >
                        > What I did not expect was the numerous bird nests right outside of the window. Of course, there is no air conditioning in the building, no fans and no screens in the windows. This resulted in bird feathers fluttering in everyday and covering our beds that were near the window. (We are both allergic to bird feathers.) We had to leave the window open if we wanted to breathe. The temps were extreme this summer. I later learned that these were swallows, and when I came home and googled Slovakia Swallows, Martin's site came right up. too bad I didn't know about these earlier! I may have been more sympathetic to their plight.
                        >
                        > When we first arrived, there was no one to greet us or make us feel comfortable. There was no food available, so we set out on foot to find some place to eat. There was a small nearby town where we found some lunch. No one spoke English there.
                        >
                        > My daughter wanted to go home immediately, which really surprised me. She had traveled solo in the past. She was so upset by the building, and the birds that she thought that we had been scammed by someone. I suggested that we give it a day, and am I glad that we did!
                        >
                        > The living conditions did not get better, but the Language program was fabulous. Personally, I had a lot of difficulty catching on, and I always seemed a day behind everyone else, but then I remembered that everyone in the class besides me had taken a Slovak Course before (including my daughter), and I had not.
                        >
                        > At the opening ceremony, we were told that we would be taking a 3 day trip to the high Tatras during our time there. That, along with some great Slovak food, and a wonderful Slovak teacher, convinced my daughter to stay. We were up to the challenge.
                        >
                        > Two days later, much to our disappointment, the trip was cancelled. That doesn't say much for public relations. Part of the fee was supposed to supplement this trip. No refunds were made but the school did add an extra one day excursion to Bojnice and Trencin which was quite nice.
                        >
                        > My daughter and I eventually began to love Modra. We walked into town nearly everyday as the canteen food left much to be desired. The distance was 3 km one way, but we got used to that quickly. We were lucky that the temp would cool off in the evening when we had to climb up the hill to get to the school.
                        >
                        > I realize that we were in Slovakia to learn the language, but I had anticipated that someone at the school would be assigned to help us with questions.
                        > No one could tell us where to get the bus, how much it cost, or what to tell the driver in order to purchase the ticket. We walked to the local information center, and the young man there, who spoke Excellent english did not know how the busses worked. So we walked ALOT.
                        >
                        > When the school group walked into Modra for an excursion to the Ceramics museum, we found ourselves walking through vineyards. We asked the young man in charge why we were taking this route, and he told us that no one was certain whether there was a sidewalk along the road for the entire trip into Modra. Now, how one can run a program for 22 years and not know if there is a sidewalk is beyond my imagination. Had they asked us, we could have told them!.
                        >
                        > I had presumed that my frustrations with the program and lack of information came from our attention to detail here in the United States. However, I soon found out that the other people in the class, from Germany, Finland, Sweden and Thailand, all felt the same annoyance. They had all written for more information and received the same limited info that I had. Actually that made me feel better. We were all in the same boat.
                        >
                        > And those of us who slept in the building could not take advantage of any "cool breezes" that might arrive, as the many compatriots who were attending a different program (most of whom were high school age students), would sit outside our window and smoke and drink until 2:00 in the morning. Every night. For 3 weeks. I am an asthmatic. Cigarette smoke is not good for me. Well, neither are bird feathers for that matter.
                        > The woman from Finland actually had to go home because she could not breath due to something in the building. She seemed to think that it was something that the Soviets used in constructing the building.
                        >
                        > All in all, my daughter and I actually ended up having a great time. We were hot and sweaty and annoyed nearly everyday, primarily due to the lack of structure by the staff.
                        >
                        > But the classes were magnificent!
                        >
                        > The first weekend that we were there, we visited Trnava where we met my cousin that I had found on fb after my last visit to Slovakia. One of the fellow student's husband, who spoke English, helped us to figure out which bus to take. So we safely arrived, and had a grand time with this young man, who even took us to Zavar to meet his family, my Slovak relatives. Now that was worth the hassle of everything that we experienced.
                        >
                        > If you are ever interested in attending the course in Modra Harmonia, feel free to contact me. I could give you all of the details that the school fails to mention. And there are many! In my opinion, I would stay at a nearby penzion, because the program is really geared towards sharing space with compatriots whose tuition is paid for by the Slovak Government, so many are there to party when they are not in class. Personally, I like to sleep at night but actually ended up living on about 3 hours every night.
                        >
                        > I want to share some photos with you so that you can see all that we were able to do while we were in Modra Harmonia for nearly 3 weeks. Our trip began in Bratislava with my cousin, although we did have an excursion to Bratislava where we took a boat on the Danube up to Devin castle then a bus to Bratislava and back to Modra.
                        >
                        > http://www.flickr.com/photos/jrcrazy/sets/72157631672016124/
                        >
                        > One thing is for sure: we both made the best of our adventure as you will see by the photos. And, just for the record, I only take photos of us smiling :-)
                        >
                        > Barbara
                        >
                      • genmom4
                        Caye, I knew ahead of time that there would be no air-conditioning. Most times, it wouldn t be an issue, because the weather was not really humid, just hot.
                        Message 11 of 17 , Oct 8, 2012
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Caye,

                          I knew ahead of time that there would be no air-conditioning. Most times, it wouldn't be an issue, because the weather was not really humid, just hot. And there is a nice breeze in the evening. One must plan on bringing very light clothing, which I did.

                          The issue at hand was the cigarette smoke. And I don't know what they smoke there, but the odor was much more pungent than what one smells here. This communist style building has the second and third floor bedrooms around the perimeter of the building. On the second floor, each of the rooms has a door that opens up into a public area. Now that area was pretty much covered with bird droppings, as swallows were nesting every couple of feet in the small awning above the rooms.

                          But the compatriot youngsters did not seem to mind walking through the stuff, and they would sit out at night and smoke until 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. When I mentioned it to one of the staff, I was told that it was illegal to smoke in the building. And that 10:00 p.m. was quiet time.

                          How nice to have rules and not have anyone enforce them! On the first night, I brought this to the attention of the night guard, who did come up and speak with the kids. When he left, they began singing in a loud voice and kept on smoking. This went on every night. I decided that it wasn't worth my getting dressed to track down two flights of stairs and attempt to have a conversation with a night guard who didn't speak English. No matter who complained (I was not alone....there were people from other countries who accompanied their children to the program who were very upset) the end result was always the same.

                          I don't begrudge the kids. But I was told that this was one of the calmest groups that had attended this program. I strongly feel that people who pay should be told of the situation and given alternative rooming possibilities.

                          Due to my asthma, I just could not have the window open during active smoking, so you can only imagine how hot the room would be without any ventilation. I would think that the kids were finally asleep, sneak over to the window and open it, jump into bed and suddenly feel the tightness in my chest as the smoke would once again waft into the room. Oh, the wonders of youth needing so little sleep. But, really, what are they doing to their lungs? Can't help but wonder about their future.

                          On our excursion to Bratislava, I went to Tesco and bought an 8 euro fan. Best money every spent in my life!

                          We would close the window and run the fan which I could make oscillate. That fan came in handy as I used it to dry my underwear which I had to wash in the sink, as we never did figure out how the laundry facilities worked. I was told that I needed to get the key when the cleaning staff was in the building, but we had class at that time, and I couldn't figure out how I would get my laundry washed. So, everything was washed in a tiny little sink and hung in places around the room. I had brought clips for hanging, which certainly came in handy.

                          Other people who washed their clothes this way, put them outside to dry, only to find bird droppings on them. No thanks!!

                          On one of the last class days, I was asked to make a sentence with some words that were given to me: student and smoking. I said, in Slovak, students smoke in the evening. The teacher thought that I had translated it incorrectly. She went to correct me, to which my response was, "well, at this place they do!" My fellow classmates who were staying in the building with me, all laughed and agreed out loud. The teacher was shocked. Despite my brining this to the attention of staff on several occasions, nothing was done about it.

                          I didn't want to come off as the complaining American, so I just dropped the fight after the second day and suffered through.

                          The language program was definitely worth this aggravation. So that does say a lot about the actual program which is what kept us there.

                          I highly recommend the program as a jump start for learning the language.
                          I thought the cost was quite reasonable, and Slovakia is really a very inexpensive place to visit. And there are certainly many beautiful areas to explore.

                          The staff claims that they want more people to enroll in this program. I did send a suggestion list to the staff, written in Slovak. Hopefully they can read it.
                          I do not believe in complaining about an issue without brining it to the attention of those in charge. Hopefully, some changes will be made to make it a little less stressful on participants.

                          But if you like birds and can sleep through noise......this is the place for you!

                          -
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > Barbara, thanks so much for sharing.
                          >
                          > Unfortunately, we in America are quite spoiled -- very few hotels in Europe (or anywhere overseas I've traveled) have air conditioning -- Europeans are very ecological and live much simpler lives than we do -- and as you learned walk way more than we do.  Glad you didn't give up the ship and enjoyed your time.
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > _
                        • genmom4
                          Julia, I had wondered about the dialect issue myself. Although my paternal grandfather came from Zavar, my other relatives all live in Eastern Slovakia, and I
                          Message 12 of 17 , Oct 8, 2012
                          • 0 Attachment
                            Julia,
                            I had wondered about the dialect issue myself. Although my paternal grandfather came from Zavar, my other relatives all live in Eastern Slovakia, and I wondered if they would understand me. But, I was told that they should have all learned textbook Slovak, so they should.

                            This program opened my eyes to quite a bit of information of which I was unaware (including the nesting habits of swallows who obviously take longer than 3 weeks to leave the nest after hatching).

                            I met a teacher from Romania, in her early 20's, who was there because she lived in a community where everyone spoke Slovak. She told me that the community had been there for 5 generations. So, the families continue to speak Slovak even though they live in Romania. This young lady wanted to improve her reading and writing of the language because she needed to teach the students the grammar, as well as teach them Romanian.

                            There was also a teacher from Hungary who was there for the same reason. Most of these "compatriots" were there to learn the grammar because they could speak Slovak but could not write it, or read it, as they went to Hungarian schools where they were taught in Hungarian.

                            There was a group that came from the Ukraine as well. Some of the students were quite conscientious and were there to learn what they needed to know so that they could apply to a University in Slovakia. They needed strong grammar skills in order to be admitted.

                            It was really quite the mix. and quite a learning experience for me, as we learned things that we never would have been taught in school. Especially about the Velvet Revolution. It is fascinating to hear different viewpoints of this time period.

                            Our teacher brought in envelopes that had been her father's. He had a relative in the United States who would send money. The money would be confiscated by the aurthorities who had special equipment to scan the letters looking for bills inside. The envelope would be opened, money taken out, a voucher placed inside to be used at a special store run by the government for things that would generally be very expensive, then the envelope was resealed with special brown tape.

                            She said that her family eventually figured out how to put the bills in aluminum foil because the machine could not recognize the bill.

                            We learned about the so called conspiracy involving Stefanik's death. My cousin had told me this in the past, but I just thought that it was her opinion. This teacher told us that Stefanik's name had been removed from all history books when she was in school. They were not to learn about him. BUt her father would rip pages out of her history books and tell her that it was garbage.

                            This was definitely much more than a language course. We learned about Slovak culture and some history as well. Like you said, I'm so glad that we decided to stick with the program.!

                            By the way, if you went to Modra now, you would need to take cash, or take it out of the ATM machine. Few places will take the credit card. In fact, when I went to Slovakia with my husband in May of 2010, we only used the credit card. But now, since the European cards have a security chip in them, the American cards are shunned at most places. I was really surprised by this.

                            Barbara

                            --- In Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com, Matchett <wmatchett@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Barbara,
                            >
                            > Your photos are beautiful. Made me want to hurry back to lovely Slovakia. I attended the Slovak summer program in Bratislava in '02. It felt it was fairly well organized. Good thing you both stayed with it. My class moved quite fast and I was stunned when I learned the Slovak I knew was the Zahorie dialect!
                            >
                            > I arrived on a Sunday also. Got my room and then went to a store. I loaded up a basket with food and then found out they wouldn't take U.S. dollars or Euros at the time! I put everything back and went back to the dorm. I drank some water out of the sink and went to the bank in the morning to exchange money. I only had one credit card and was afraid to try the ATM that first night. Over all it was a great experience and wished it lasted longer. Julia Matchett
                            >
                            > > My daughter and I enrolled in the Slovak Summer Study program which was held in Modra-Harmonia for 3 weeks in July. I had a lot of difficulty getting information pertaining to this program in this location, but we decided to give it a try.
                            >
                            >
                            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            >
                          • genmom4
                            Please feel free to direct any inquiries my way, Martin. I d be happy to answer any questions about the course. Barbara
                            Message 13 of 17 , Oct 8, 2012
                            • 0 Attachment
                              Please feel free to direct any inquiries my way, Martin.
                              I'd be happy to answer any questions about the course.
                              Barbara

                              --- In Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com, "votrubam" <votrubam@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > Thank you, Barbara, for the highly meaningful account (and nice pics). I've had occasional queries about the program, but knew nothing about it. I'm glad to be able to direct people to your description from now on.
                              >
                              >
                              > Martin
                              >
                            • votrubam
                              ... Actually, they never leave the nest they were born in until they migrate south in the fall. ... Some much longer, since the late 1700s. Bram Stoker had a
                              Message 14 of 17 , Oct 9, 2012
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                                > (including the nesting habits of swallows who obviously
                                > take longer than 3 weeks to leave the nest after hatching).

                                Actually, they never leave the nest they were born in until they migrate south in the fall.


                                > I met a teacher from Romania, in her early 20's, who was
                                > there because she lived in a community where everyone
                                > spoke Slovak. She told me that the community had been there
                                > for 5 generations.

                                Some much longer, since the late 1700s. Bram Stoker had a rather unflattering paragraph about the Slovaks of Romania (Transylvania) in _Dracula_ in 1897:

                                "The strangest figures we saw were the Slovaks, who were more barbarian than the rest, with their big cow-boy hats, great baggy dirty-white trousers, white linen shirts, and enormous heavy leather belts, nearly a foot wide, all studded over with brass nails. They wore high boots, with their trousers tucked into them, and had long black hair and heavy black mustaches. They are very picturesque, but do not look prepossessing. On the stage they would be set down at once as some old Oriental band of brigands. They are, however, I am told, very harmless and rather wanting in natural self-assertion."

                                Some of them (only some) actually moved there from what's Hungary today, where their ancestors had resettled earlier, not directly from Slovakia.

                                > So, the families continue to speak Slovak even though
                                > they live in Romania.

                                That has been quite common in farming areas of Central Europe, because the migrants created their own majority language areas where they settled. The cultures of farming communities have a lot of inertia by comparison to urban areas (not to mention hunters and gatherers). For instance, some people still speak Croatian in south-western Slovakia although their ancestors arrived 400+ years ago.


                                > a voucher placed inside to be used at a special store
                                > run by the government

                                Here's an old thread about the Tuzex stores:

                                <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Slovak-World/message/22809>


                                > Stefanik's death. My cousin had told me this in the past,
                                > but I just thought that it was her opinion.

                                Few Slovak historians give it any credence.

                                > that Stefanik's name had been removed from all history books

                                Not just his. The Communists, on the whole, taught close to nothing about Czecho-Slovakia's democratic period between the wars. President Masaryk, others, were hardly mentioned at all, except in about one sentence in all of history -- as horrible people who made the new, post-WW I, country capitalist. All that happened during that period was ruthless exploitation and the Communists' heroic fight for, well, communism. And literature was written during that period (but no religious poems).


                                Martin
                              • Ron
                                ... This reminds me of 1993, talking to our Latvian secretary while working on the US embassy renovation. She told of her mother, a newly retired teacher, who
                                Message 15 of 17 , Oct 9, 2012
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                                  > > Stefanik's death. My cousin had told me this in the past,
                                  > > but I just thought that it was her opinion.
                                  >
                                  > Few Slovak historians give it any credence.
                                  >
                                  > > that Stefanik's name had been removed from all history books
                                  >
                                  > Not just his. The Communists, on the whole, taught close to nothing about Czecho-Slovakia's democratic period between the wars. President Masaryk, others, were hardly mentioned at all, except in about one sentence in all of history -- as horrible people who made the new, post-WW I, country capitalist. All that happened during that period was ruthless exploitation and the Communists' heroic fight for, well, communism. And literature was written during that period (but no religious poems).
                                  >

                                  This reminds me of 1993, talking to our Latvian secretary while working on the US embassy renovation. She told of her mother, a newly retired teacher, who had to work through a major crisis after the collapse of communism. She realized she had spent her lifetime teaching many falsehoods, and had trouble coming to grips with that.
                                • genmom4
                                  I cannot thank you enough, Martin, for your enlightening comments. As I had mentioned, this language course taught far more than just an introduction to
                                  Message 16 of 17 , Oct 10, 2012
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                                    I cannot thank you enough, Martin, for your enlightening comments.
                                    As I had mentioned, this language course taught far more than just an introduction to learning how to read and write Slovak.

                                    I find your comments fascinating. I chuckled at the description of the Slovaks that you reference.

                                    And I appreciate your verification regarding the Slovak history being censored.
                                    Do you know how the Slovak government handled the rewriting of Slovak history after the fall of communism? I'm curious as to how the material in print today was chosen. Who chose it, and how long did it take to get into print?

                                    Finally, I have to admit that I'm glad that I didn't know that the sparrows never left the nest. My daughter and I would come back to the room each day hoping that they had flown on their merry way, just because of the sheer numbers of them and the inevitable accumulation of bird feathers coming through the windows. Plus, I can tell you for fact, that those little birdies only sleep about 3 hours at night.

                                    Now I'm curious about these birds......we watched the mothers constantly flying back and forth, feeding the baby birds. Do the little ones grow to full size over the summer and eventually go out and get their own food over time?

                                    Barbara



                                    --- In Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com, "votrubam" <votrubam@...> wrote:
                                    >
                                    > > (including the nesting habits of swallows who obviously
                                    > > take longer than 3 weeks to leave the nest after hatching).
                                    >
                                    > Actually, they never leave the nest they were born in until they migrate south in the fall.
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > > I met a teacher from Romania, in her early 20's, who was
                                    > > there because she lived in a community where everyone
                                    > > spoke Slovak. She told me that the community had been there
                                    > > for 5 generations.
                                    >
                                    > Some much longer, since the late 1700s. Bram Stoker had a rather unflattering paragraph about the Slovaks of Romania (Transylvania) in _Dracula_ in 1897:
                                    >
                                    > "The strangest figures we saw were the Slovaks, who were more barbarian than the rest, with their big cow-boy hats, great baggy dirty-white trousers, white linen shirts, and enormous heavy leather belts, nearly a foot wide, all studded over with brass nails. They wore high boots, with their trousers tucked into them, and had long black hair and heavy black mustaches. They are very picturesque, but do not look prepossessing. On the stage they would be set down at once as some old Oriental band of brigands. They are, however, I am told, very harmless and rather wanting in natural self-assertion."
                                    >
                                    > Some of them (only some) actually moved there from what's Hungary today, where their ancestors had resettled earlier, not directly from Slovakia.
                                    >
                                    > > So, the families continue to speak Slovak even though
                                    > > they live in Romania.
                                    >
                                    > That has been quite common in farming areas of Central Europe, because the migrants created their own majority language areas where they settled. The cultures of farming communities have a lot of inertia by comparison to urban areas (not to mention hunters and gatherers). For instance, some people still speak Croatian in south-western Slovakia although their ancestors arrived 400+ years ago.
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > > a voucher placed inside to be used at a special store
                                    > > run by the government
                                    >
                                    > Here's an old thread about the Tuzex stores:
                                    >
                                    > <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Slovak-World/message/22809>
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > > Stefanik's death. My cousin had told me this in the past,
                                    > > but I just thought that it was her opinion.
                                    >
                                    > Few Slovak historians give it any credence.
                                    >
                                    > > that Stefanik's name had been removed from all history books
                                    >
                                    > Not just his. The Communists, on the whole, taught close to nothing about Czecho-Slovakia's democratic period between the wars. President Masaryk, others, were hardly mentioned at all, except in about one sentence in all of history -- as horrible people who made the new, post-WW I, country capitalist. All that happened during that period was ruthless exploitation and the Communists' heroic fight for, well, communism. And literature was written during that period (but no religious poems).
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > Martin
                                    >
                                  • votrubam
                                    ... Instead of leave, it would have been clearer to say never abandon : the young swallows/martins do fly out of the nest and feed on their own soon, but --
                                    Message 17 of 17 , Oct 10, 2012
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                                      > Do the little ones grow to full size over the summer and
                                      > eventually go out and get their own food over time?

                                      Instead of "leave," it would have been clearer to say "never abandon": the young swallows/martins do fly out of the nest and feed on their own soon, but -- unlike many other birds -- the parents as well as the young ones always come back to their nest (which gets pretty crowded) for the night, sometimes to rest during the day and stay in when it rains, until they leave in the fall. The young ones begin to breed when they return the next year and build their own nests.


                                      > Do you know how the Slovak government handled the rewriting
                                      > of Slovak history after the fall of communism? I'm curious
                                      > as to how the material in print today was chosen. Who chose
                                      > it, and how long did it take to get into print?

                                      Rather poorly. Textbooks are commissioned by the Ministry of Education for the whole country, it took more than a decade to replace the old ones. One of the problems was that there were no experts who would have done, or could have done, sufficient amount of independent research into the "prohibited" period to churn out new textbooks fast. And partly, historians, especially those paying some attention to those periods, were among the groups of people more subservient to the Communists (and often Communist Party members themselves).

                                      The two aspects of it generated each other, so to say. If someone wanted to stir really far away from the Communist doctrine, s/he might avoid studying history altogether, and if in history, the person would stir away from Central European history of the 20th century. And if someone didn't, s/he probably was someone who wanted to tout the Communist doctrine (meaning, why -- otherwise -- would you want to "study" a period if you realized you'd be obligated only to "discover" and publish lies).

                                      So it took years after the collapse of communism for the historians, especially the maturing generation, to learn and digest the early 20th century, the textbooks came after that.

                                      The current "black hole" is the teaching of history under communism.


                                      Martin
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