It's A Small World: Former Bridgeport High School Students Reunite 4000 Miles Away in Prague

By Trina Runner on April 22, 2018 via

When Bridgeport High School foreign exchange student Aneta Sklenska boarded her plane back to the Czech Republic last spring, it seemed unlikely that friends would see her again anytime soon. So, when BHS Alumnus Maggie Lohmann arrived in Prague last month, she was thrilled to see Sklenska welcoming her at the airport.
“Aneta was dressed in a WVU hat and t-shirt and had made a welcome poster with the flying WV on it,” said Lohmann.  “Although we had planned to meet up, it was a surprise to see her at the airport and so exciting to catch up with her and see the city with her.”
Lohmann traveled to the Czech Republic with students in the West Virginia Wesleyan Honors Program Cultural Capitals class, which also included BHS alumnus Tristan Quinones.  She had the opportunity to travel to France last year with the group and this years’ experience included a cultural immersion in all things Czech.  Throughout the year, the group learned about the history of the Czech Republic, read stories by Czech authors, learned the language and conducted research about the country.
Upon their arrival, Lohmann toured the Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square, Jewish Quarter, Prague Castle complex, St. Vitus Cathedral, and several museums.  She also had the opportunity to visit the famed John Lennon Wall and visit the Charles Bridge.  The group attended a play at the Estates Theatre and ate dinner at the Ginger and Fred Restaurant in the Dancing Building.  They visited the Sedlec Ossuary, known as the Bone Church, and Holocaust memorials.
During her free day, Lohmann chose to travel to the Terezin Concentration Camp and explore the grounds.  The experience was life-altering for Lohmann and became the topic for her final project.
Prior to the trip abroad, Lohmann and Sklenska messaged each other for about a month, planning to try to meet up when Lohmann arrived in Prague, where Sklenska attends college.  After the surprise greeting at the airport, they set off to explore the city of Prague and climed to the top of Petrin Hill to watch the sun set.
“The Petrin Lookout Tower is a smaller model of the Eiffel Tower and it was so beautiful to see the night sky from that vantage point,” said Lohmann. “Aneta really misses the people of Bridgeport that made her stay so wonderful and she 
was happy to be able to extend the same graciousness to me in her country.”
Although the two were friends while Sklenska was attending BHS last year, the time spent together in Prague brought them much closer as they discussed the country, the culture, and the language while reminiscing about their times in Bridgeport.  They ventured among the web of streets in the town square and watched musicians and street performers in the city. They were reminded, once again, that although they speak different languages and have different life experiences, they have many more similarities than differences.
“My trip made me re-evaluate what I might like to do with the rest of my college career and grad school choices,” said Lohmann.  “It gave me an appreciation for the culture and the history behind it and it made me want to continue to learn about the world beyond America.” 
Two friends who met in the home country of one had the chance to reunite in the home country of the other and the experience made the world seem much smaller and richer. 

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