Grade 10 student Zsofia Tarackozi is spending a semester at Bulkley Valley Christian School. Marisca Bakker photo

Student flees civil war and gets a taste of Canada

Grade 10 student Zsofia Tarackozi taking a break from being forced to move out of Ukraine.

A student from Hungary is spending a semester at Bulkley Valley Christian School to take a break from a recent harrowing move back to her home country and to help improve her English.

Grade 10 student Zsofia Tarackozi is staying with a family friend in Smithers and taking a breather from being uprooted in the fall.

She was born in Hungary but has spent the last seven years in Ukraine. The civil war there forced her family back to Hungary. She said life was good in Ukraine and didn’t want to move.

However, the only way her family could stay in the country was if her brothers joined the war. She added it started to feel unsafe.

“I still think danger is everywhere but I am a Christian and I believe God is protecting me. I can feel that everywhere but of course, there is a civil war in Ukraine so it is more dangerous [than in Canada]. I was more worried about my friends in Ukraine that are citizens that got a draft letter and have to go to fight,” she said.

The family was not given much notice or time to move back to Hungary. When family friend Aria Sawyer invited Tarackozi to stay with her a couple months, she jumped on the chance.

“I needed time to think and I needed this time to deal with moving,” she said.

Sawyer was there in the fall when the family had to move.

“It was very dramatic. When you go back to what you think is your home country but you can’t go back in. It became fall and they only had their summer clothes. They weren’t allowed back across the border, they didn’t know they were moving,” she said.

They were allowed three months to get their belongings but could only cross the border on certain weekends.

“We moved our furniture and everything in one go,” said Tarackozi.

The family moved in with her grandmother but it didn’t feel like home for Tarackozi. She is now loving her time in Smithers.

“I really love the mountains,” she said. “I also love that I can think freely, teachers want to know my opinion.”

That is a foreign concept to Tarackozi. She said her teachers told her facts and she wasn’t allowed to form her own opinions on things.

She is also loving the shorter school days and smaller class loads. One of her favourite subjects is philosophy, something she didn’t have in Ukraine and something she’ll miss when she leaves in June.

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