Although no more than 429 kilometers from the border in the east to the border in the west, Slovakia contains several different peoples, languages and religions. This small inland state is surrounded by the Czech Republic, Austria, Poland, Ukraine and Hungary, and the influence of Austrian and Hungarian culture in particular is clear. Check other countries in Eastern Europe on Countryaah.
The Slovak landscape is dominated by mountains, and the Carpathian mountain range stretches across the entire northern part of the country. Elsewhere you will find picturesque valleys and lowland areas, and there are as many as 9 national parks around the country.
With a turbulent past, Slovakia has been under both Hungarian rule and part of Czechoslovakia, but Slovakia was officially established as an independent republic in 1993.
The Slovaks are a polite and friendly people who appreciate privacy. Although they may not be so outgoing or bubbly, they welcome strangers and especially value their family relationships.
- CAPITAL CITY: Bratislava
- LANGUAGE: Slovak
- CURRENCY: Euro (EUR)
- AREA: 49,035 km2
- POPULATION: 5,426,252 (2015 estimate)
People and community
You will probably have to live in a small town. Family activities are very often watching movies together, going on hiking trips and going to local festivals or other cultural events.
You will probably have to go to a highly competitive school that prepares students for university. The school day ran from 8:00 to 14:30 Monday to Friday. You will probably experience school as more formal than what you know from home. The curriculum will include Slovak, two foreign languages, history, art and culture, sports, mathematics, biology as well as chemistry and physics.
Slovak is closely related to the other West Slavic languages, including primarily Czech, but it is also influenced by Latin, German and English. AFS will provide language teaching materials at the beginning of your stay.
The Slovak diet consists largely of meat served with dumplings or potatoes. The national dish is bryndzove halusky , which consists of dumplings with cheese and bacon. You can also expect plenty of bread as well as vegetables for most meals. Do not deceive yourself for the delicious cakes and sweets. Vegetarianism is not very common in Slovakia, but it is possible to manage without eating meat.