Eighteen-year-old Ada Sobczak is a lot like a typical American teenager.
She eats pizza and Doritos, has sleepovers with friends, likes to shop — 4,500 miles away from Winona.
Ada is in Winona as part of an exchange program with Winona’s sister city in Bytow, Poland. She’s one of three Polish students visiting, and is staying with Kate Boland, who visited Bytow last year as part of the program, and Kate’s parents, Theresa and Steve.
Ada arrived July 20 and has been busy seeing the sites in and around Winona. Ada and Kate climbed Garvin Heights to Sugarloaf, went roller-skating on Tuesday, and watched a Cotter softball game. Ada said Poland doesn’t have softball, so it was interesting to watch. Ada and the Bolands also visited Saint Mary’s Cemetery, where Ada saw plenty of familiar last names.
Ada and the other visitors in the exchange program will be in Winona until Aug. 20. Ada still has a list of things to see and do. After stopping by the Polish Museum Wednesday morning, the Bolands were headed to the National Eagle Center in Wabasha and planned on taking Ada to see a Great River Shakespeare Festival performance on Friday.
And no visit to the United States would be complete without a shopping trip to the Mall of America.
Ada said she has enjoyed her time in Winona so far, and that the city is similar to her hometown in Poland. There are a lot of lakes in Bytow, she said, along with forests and hills.
“I like Winona a lot,” she said. “It’s a lot like home here.”