2023-24 Gaelyn, outbound to Austria – Sept. 17, 2023

Sep 17, 2023

September 17, 2023

Hello to all my fans reading this right now. I have officially been in Austria for one month… wow! And what a month it has been. So much has happened that I don’t even know where to start.

On August 14th I said goodbye to Florida and my family. To be honest, for weeks leading up to my departure I was so sad about leaving the states. There was not a bone in my body looking forward to exchange. In retrospect, I find that hilarious. The trek to Austria was a somewhat tiring one. I flew from Tampa to Chicago to Frankfurt to Linz with multiple layovers and flight delays along the way. Luckily I got home so late that I could just go to bed and wake up normally the next morning. So no jet-lag for me! In the grand scheme of my past month though, getting here has been the least interesting part of it.

I think that I really got lucky with my host family. I genuinely don’t have a bad thing to say about them. I feel like it was very easy to integrate myself into their routine.

Very shortly after my arrival in Austria I went to Puch bei Hallein for a language camp with all of the other inbound exchange students. Every single day was packed with German lessons, activities, etc. I feel like I could write a novel about those thirteen days but instead I will condense it down to a paragraph!

Immediately upon arriving at Language Camp I think everyone there cliqued super well. I had so much fun every single day. Apart from our daily lessons we went swimming, bowling, and even took day trips into Salzburg and to Hallstatt. There were so many moments where I just had to stop and ask myself, “This is my life?” It’s wild. I mean, I’m seventeen years old jumping off a bridge into a river in Austria with a bunch of friends from all around the world. Picturesque mountains as the backdrop and everything. It doesn’t even sound real when you say it. Besides our day trip into Salzburg, I think my favorite part was the last morning. Eight of us got up early to watch the sunrise, and it was such a peaceful, wholesome time. Language Camp as a whole was a really fulfilling experience. I had the opportunity to develop relationships with people from all over the world going through a similar experience as myself. How incredible is that? I’m grateful for every second of those two weeks and I find myself constantly reminiscing. I left looking forward to school and establishing my routine in Amstetten.

Speaking of school, that’s definitely been interesting so far. The people in my class are very nice. I really appreciate their patience and willingness to help me understand what the teachers are saying. I like most of my teachers. I think I’ll just leave it at that.

The main thing that I’m having a hard time getting used to is my independence. I wouldn’t say that back home in Florida I was ever micromanaged, but I always had people behind me to help me stay on track with things. That is definitely not the case here. I really need to work on building a stable routine for myself.

All in all I’d rate my Austria experience so far a 10/10. Every day I go through a million different highs and lows but when I look back at the month, the week, or even the day I struggle to remember the not so good moments.

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