2023-24 Gaelyn, outbound to Austria

Jul 15, 2023

Hi!! It’s hard to believe that I’ll be leaving for Austria in just four short weeks. I’m extremely excited to tell you guys all about my preparations leading up to this journey! First of all, I’m so excited because about two weeks ago I received all the information regarding my first host family, school, town, etc. for my stay in Austria. I had been glued to my email practically every day, waiting for this form to come through. Now that it has, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Since then I’ve already made contact with my host parents and host club, and arranged my itinerary for departure!
On Sunday, July 9th, I had a video call with my host family. Ever since the first email exchange with them, I’ve gotten really positive vibes. It was a short but sweet call. I was happy to put voices and faces to the names. I mostly talked to two of my host sisters and one of their brothers, Daniel. Daniel is going to be going to Chile on Rotary Youth Exchange when I go to Austria. They showed me around the house a little bit and that was nice. I got to see the dining room, kitchen, yard, and the bedroom and bathroom that I’ll be using. They seem like a really wonderful family.
I was thinking about it the other day, and it has already been seven months since the Big Reveal, when I first found out that I’d be going to Austria… that’s crazy! The time is just flying by. After the Big Reveal there were numerous training sessions (one a month) and they were all a great time. I really enjoyed being around the other Outbounds, the ROTEX, and the Rotarians. I learned a lot each time and had fun doing it. I’m grateful for the support and all the relationships that I’ve built.
I remember beginning my language preparations in January, it seemed very daunting. I think I’ve made good progress since then and I look forward to learning a lot more once I touch down in Austria. As far as my recent preparations go, I started going through my closet at the beginning of June. Condensing my wardrobe down to one checked bag and a carry-on suitcase seems almost as daunting as learning German! I know that that’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Once I get back from Canada I’ll start really cracking down on my packing. Speaking of Canada, I think it’s nice that I’ve gotten to practice using the metric system. It’s like a little sneak-peak for exchange.
That being said, I’m fully prepared to make the most of this experience. I don’t want to waste a second of it. Want to talk about time flying by, if you think about it, this time next year I’ll be coming home! Now that’s crazy. Anyways, I’m super excited and I can’t wait to write to you again from Austria! 🙂

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