Austrian exchange student ‘doubles’ up golf and tennis teams


Spike Thiesmeyer

Julia’s a star on the golf course and the tennis court.

Throughout the years, Arroyo Grande High School has hosted a number of foreign exchange students, from various countries around the world. Many exchange students take advantage of the opportunity to participate in the variety of sports and activities available, since many of their schools back home do not offer intramural sports, and they can only play on club teams outside of school. One of these students is Julia Bognar (‘24), an exchange student from Austria who is staying in Arroyo Grande until January.

Bognar is a member of the AGHS girls’ golf and tennis teams. She has played golf for most 

of her life, and her 18-hole personal record of 76 that she shot at the Chalk Mountain Golf Course on September 26, 2022. Bognar believes the biggest difference between golf in the United States and golf in Austria is that the surroundings of the golf courses are very different.

 “My practice [in Austria] is definitely different than this practice, but, golf is golf,” Bognar said. 

She decided to join the golf team in order to make friends and because golf is her favorite hobby. She has found that joining a team has helped integrate her into our school and helped her make friends and meet new people with shared interests. 

“I think it’s always good to join a team,” Bognar said. 

Bognar is also a member of the girls’ tennis team. 

“Since I’ve been playing golf for a long time, I wanted to get the opportunity to do something different and try something new,” Bognar said. She has always enjoyed watching tennis on television, so when she discovered that AGHS has a tennis team, she took this as her chance to try it out for herself.

Being a member of these teams, Bognar has had to face some of the challenges that come with being a student-athlete including having to miss a substantial amount of school. 

“Playing golf, you miss [almost] the whole school day,” Bognar said. 

However, she found that her teachers have made it very easy to make up the work that she misses. 

Now that both of the sports have come to an end for her, her favorite memories from the past few months have been spending time with tennis teammates at matches and the golf team’s pasta feed.