B y Krystle S. Morey

Marianna Pittnerova said she is enjoying the “laid back” lifestyle in Granville.
Here to finish high school, Pittnerova, 17, is from Bratislava, Slovakia, a city of about 415,000 people. Granville has about 2,500.
“It’s a little different,” she said. “…more relaxing and calm, but that is why I am here: to experience something completely different and new. It’s a nice change.”
So far, she said, she doesn’t miss the rushed and hectic city life. She does, however, miss the luxury of having stores and movie theaters just outside her doorstep.
“Everybody is really nice here, in the town and in the school,” she said. “Everybody is always smiling every day and saying, ‘how are you.’”
Pittnerova knew that she wanted to study abroad for at least a year before she finished high school. She considered other places including New Zealand, but she was intrigued by exploring America.
“I didn’t know where I was going exactly because the agency picks the place and the families,” she said.
This is only her second month in the states.
Pittnerova is staying in the village with Larry and Linda Carman.
“They are really nice,” she said. “They are very interested in what I do and they support me in my activities.”
At home in Slovakia, Pittnerova is an only child, but she has a few host siblings with the Carmans.
“It’s really close to home,” she said. “They are creating the feeling of home.”
The Carmans have hosted exchange students in the past.
“My wife Linda and I like to host students; it’s our little thing to help enhance world relations,” Larry Carman said. “They get a different perspective of America and we get a different perspective of them. If more people did it, the common folk would maybe start changing things around.”
While Pittnerova is here, she plans to check out a few of the local museums and orchards, but she hasn’t quite had the time yet. She has tried a few local restaurants, all of which she said were good.
She really enjoyed going to the under-the-lights games during spirit week.
Pittnerova’s host family shows dogs as a hobby, so she’s gotten a chance to work with puppies and learn the art of showing dogs for competition.
“I have always wanted a dog and now I can have many of them. We have eight with nine puppies,” she said.
Granville High School usually hosts a few foreign exchange students, but Pittnerova is the only one this year. She will finish out her senior year with the Golden Horde and walk across the stage with the Class of 2017 in June.
She doesn’t plan on making any trips home before the end of the school year, but she does make a point to Skype with her family each weekend to check in.
She has a pretty packed schedule at school, taking classes including guitar, American history, Spanish and biology.
When asked which period was her favorite, she jokingly replied, “Lunch.”
Pittnerova enjoys Spanish as well. Though this is her first Spanish course, she has taken German and English courses at home.
“I enjoy languages,” she said.
At Granville, Pittnerova said she is mainly staying focused on academics, but she decided to join the varsity soccer team for fun.
“I am focusing on school, but the sport is really important to me,” she said, mentioning that she plays intermural soccer for a club at home in Slovakia.
Playing soccer, which started in August, enabled Pittnerova to meet several of her peers before school started. She has a few classes with some of her teammates too.
“I am so thankful for my coach and my teammates,” she said. “When I came here I was afraid if I would fit into the community…they really helped me.”

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