By Kristin Schultz
Not many students would choose to spend vacation in school, but 13-year old Kristof Gregor did just that.
The teen and his mother — curator at the Slovak National Gallery in Bratislava, Slovakia — were in Niskayuna and on Oct. 25, Gregor shadowed Iroquois eighth-grader Laith Chowdhrey for a morning of classes.
It was Gregor’s first visit to the United States, and he and his mother were staying with George and Kat Curtis, who are neighbors of Iroquois principal Vicki Wyld. The neighbors arranged for Gregor to spend a morning at an American middle school.
Gregor met Chowdhrey and while the young European said it was at first awkward, the two quickly hit it off and realized they had many things in common, including a love of science and hiking.
The first class was science, where Iroquois students were learning about density.
Gregor had already covered the topic back in Slovakia and was able to work right alongside Chowdhrey.
Next up was math class followed by music — where the students worked on electronic composition — then tech, Spanish and finally, lunch.
“I like the cafeteria food here better,” Gregor said. He had a hot dog, sweet potatoes and baked beans. “At my school one [lunch] per month is good.”
Iroquois students also sent him home with “American snacks,” including a bag of nacho-cheese Doritos, Funyuns and fruit snacks.
Gregor said the students treated him well and were nice to him. He said he appreciated the diversity he saw as he walked the halls.
Gregor said students at his school are all from Slovakia, and he said it was nice to see students from different parts of the world.
He and his mom also planned to take a trip to New York City, long a “big dream” for Gregor.
In addition to being his first time in the United States, Gregor said it was the first time he had eaten a bagel (he really likes them) and the first time he had seen a chipmunk in real life.
“And the squirrels are everywhere,” he exclaimed. “It is beautiful and I am so happy to spend time here.”
Chowdhrey gave Gregor his email address and the boys said they’d keep in touch.