Tis’ me! Taylor the Floridian in which is currently FREEZING cold Austria! I wanted my first journal to be both an insight as to what I have done in my country so far but also an inspiration to the students who are in the same exact seat I was a year ago, reading everyone’s journal articles. To you, I hope these paragraphs inspire you to make that jump into the incredibly amazing world of Rotary Youth Exchange.
One of the most common questions people ask me is “Why did you choose Austria?” And to be honest I think I have given every person a different answer. That is simply because there was not just one reason why I chose this Mountainous dreamland. To start, I kind of wanted to go to a country that I did not know much about. I started researching and no matter what country I was reading about I just kept ending up back looking at google images of Austria. If you are reading this trying to choose your top five countries right now, I definitely suggest writing your top 10 down in a notebook, and writing the pros/cons for each- (ex. Already knowing some Spanish from school, so traveling to a Spanish speaking country.) At the same time, I think it is most important to follow your heart. If you feel yourself being pulled a certain way- trust in it! I think half research and half spontaneity is key. Another reason I chose Austria is because it is geographically and climatically almost the exact opposite of Florida. I thought that if I am given the chance to experience living in a different habitat for such a long period of time I might as well take it because 1. I will never be given the opportunity again and 2. It will either make me appreciate Florida EXTRA when I get back, or make me realize that I’d actually love to live somewhere else long term. Exchange really is the perfect opportunity to start figuring out where you will thrive the best- we only have one life and we must make the absolute most of it!
So far in Austria, (Osterreich in German ;) I have been so grateful as to experience a number of different events, nature, and architecture all unique to this Gorgeous country. I have done everything from exploring Underground Salt mines to hiking through the incredibly beautiful and zen Alps. As I am residing in the countries capital, Vienna, I am surrounded by countless historical landmarks and jaw-dropping architecture. My best advice to anyone who is going on exchange, or thinking on going on exchange, is to go into it with an open mind. Don’t have your heart set on one place because you know all about it already- whatever happens was meant to happen! I wanted to be put a completely different place at first and now, there is no where i’d rather be than here in Vienna. Keep an open mind and heart and you will never be disappointed.
For those of you that are staring at all these journals, contemplating going on exchange for a year: There is one thing that i would love for you to take away from this blog post, no matter how crazy it seems- do it!! I promise you it will change your life for the best, I have been here a month and have learned so much already. So many doors will open for you that were not there before. I have been here for a month and I already feel like a new, more mature and grounded person. It is a lot of work, of course, both mentally and physically. But I promise that in the end you will be so grateful, because it is so so so worth it. Traveling the world will teach you more than any textbook! And of course, you can always email or DM me if you need any advice or have any extra questions….
“When it feels scary to jump, that is exactly when you do it.”
Click HERE to read more about Taylor and all her blogs