Local Family to Spend Year in Hungary
Have you ever dreamed of picking up your family and heading off to spend a year in a foreign land? One Pawling family will be doing just that very soon. This upcoming August, Monica and Tom Housen will be taking their three children to live in Veszprem, Hungary, while Ms. Housen will be participating in a Fulbright teacher exchange.
This is the second time Ms. Housen, who teaches math at Ridgefield High School, was chosen to participate in a Fulbright Teacher Exchange. Her first exchange was in Latvia back in 1997 before she was married and had children. This trip to Hungary will be an incredible opportunity for Housen to represent her school, her country, and share in a wonderful adventure with her own family while teaching at a bilingual school in the town of Balatonalmadi, near Lake Balaton.
The Housens have three children, daughter, Ella, 5, and sons Riley, who just turned 7, and Hayden, 8, who all attend Pawling Elementary School. The children all had their own concerns about the upcoming trip.
According to their mother, “My daughter, asked, “Is this going to be like going to a hotel?” and “Are we going to stay overnight?” Not really fully appreciating how long a year is and the whole idea of not speaking the language. My middle son, Riley, is just 6. His big concern was, “How am I going to survive that long airplane ride?” And my oldest son, Hayden, really understands a little bit more. He realizes the length of time involved. His big thought was, “Wow. I’m going to skip third grade and when I come back, I’ll be in fourth grade. I’m not going to go to third grade at Pawling Elementary at all!” Three interesting perspectives from three very lucky siblings.
The Housens plan to home school their three children while abroad and get them involved in community events and local sports teams. Ms. Housen explained, “We looked into putting them in school there in the local town where we will be living, but there is no school with any instruction in English. So they would be in a situation where they did not speak the language at all. We thought that would be frustrating.” Ms. Housen and her husband plan on taking the children on weekend getaways to nearby Lake Balaton, the local hot springs, and perhaps even a few quick trips to Croatia, Serbia and Vienna.
The Hungarian teacher, Zsuzsanna Domel, who will be taking Ms. Housen’s place at Ridgefield High School, will also be accompanied by her husband as well as their two children, Renata, 7, and Mate, 10.
“The cost of living is a bit lower in Hungary than it is here,” Ms. Housen explained, “so we were looking for a housing situation for her that would probably involve house-sitting for someone, or some other kind of low rent situation.”
Ms. Housen feels it would be best for the Domel family to be living in Ridgefield during their stay so they can make a strong connection with the community where Ms. Domel will be teaching. Still, the Domels may end up living in the Housen’s home if a suitable living arrangement in Ridgefield cannot be found in time. Should that be the case, Pawling Elementary School will get the unique opportunity to teach and learn from two Hungarian children for the year.
Bon voyage Family Housen!! Or as they say in Hungary, “Jó útra!”
(If anyone has a lead on an appropriate rental for the Domel Family in Ridgefield for the 2011-2012 school year, please contact Monica Housen at (203) 438-3785 ext. 1011 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org)
This article is sponsored by a generous grant from M&S of Pawling: