Lausz Leaves Her Mark
January 31, 2019
Seventeen-year-old exchange student Zuzanna Lausz is from Poland, a long way from her current home in Fluvanna County. Choosing to spend a year in a foreign country wasn’t an easy decision, as it was challenging for her to leave her mom, sister, and most of all, her best friend, Marta. “We did everything together,” said Lausz.
Lausz came to the U.S. through an organization called Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX). She lives with Fluvanna residents Tammy and Will Tomanek, who also host another FCHS exchange student, Ukrainian Vlada Skakunova. Lausz’s host parents have impacted her life immensely and made her experience unforgettable. “They treated me like a daughter,” she says.
At first, things were awkward between her and Skakunova. But one day, Skakunova came to Lausz’ room and played her a song on the guitar. From then on, they were inseparable.
Lausz hopes that one day she’ll work with FLEX to inspire other students to make the trek overseas. “I want to share my story with others,” she said. She also dreams of getting a language degree at a university. Lausz said she was initially unsure about following her dreams, but her host mom, Tammy, reminded her that “Everything is possible if you believe in yourself.”
Since cats are her favorite animals, Lausz was excited when Tammy took the two girls to an animal shelter to see some. Lausz said that when she walked in the shelter, she started to cry her eyes out because they were so cute and she wanted to take them all home. Another thing she enjoys is singing, so she was thrilled when the FCHS Student Government Association invited her and Skakunova to come caroling with them before the Christmas holiday.
Thanks to their host parents, both girls have traveled to many places so far this school year, including Virginia Beach to see the ocean, and New York to see the Broadway show, Chicago, and visit Times Square. They also saw the Capitol in Washington, D.C., and visited the art and history museums. To start off their New Year they took a trip to Florida, where they went to Disney World, Universal, Sea World, and the Magic Kingdom.
Overall, Lausz has really enjoyed her year so far at FCHS. “I feel like I’m leaving a mark. I feel like I’m leaving something behind,” she said.