Maggie Frantz

Austria

Hometown: Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
School: Ponte Vedra High School
Sponsor District : District 6970
Sponsor Club: Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
Host District: 1910
Host Club: The Rotary Club of Wien-Prinz Eugen


My Bio


Grüß Gott! Ich bin Maggie. I am 17 years old and a Junior at Ponte Vedra High School. I have two older brothers (in college) and I live at home with my twin sister, Katie (Who will be on exchange in Brazil next year!), as well as my Mom, Dad, and my sweet, golden retriever, Runner. Being the daughter of a flight attendant, I’ve had many opportunities to travel, which has nurtured my curiosity for the world around me. While I’ve always enjoyed traveling, I am so ecstatic to LIVE somewhere new, not just visit for a few days; and I am so thrilled to say that next year I will be living in Österreich (Austria)! I can’t wait to immerse myself in the culture and learn a new language! Being a classically trained cellist, as well as working a lot with my school’s theatre department, I can’t wait to see the art and music scene in Austria. As a Floridian, I am psyched to experience an Austrian Winter complete with Christmas Markets and snow! I have so much gratitude towards my parents and Rotary for supporting me and allowing me to go on this adventure. Six months ago RYE wouldn’t have been in my wildest dreams. At least once a day I find myself saying “What the heck! I’m going to Austria!” There are not enough words in the English language to describe how excited I am! Perhaps I’ll find the perfect words in German? Auf Wiedersehen!

Taken on my second day here!

Taken on my second day here!

The Holy Roman Imperial Crown- My Little Brother asked if he could buy it!

The Holy Roman Imperial Crown- My Little Brother asked if he could buy it!

All the RYE student who arrived in August!

All the RYE student who arrived in August!

Secretly wishing I was Argentinian!

Secretly wishing I was Argentinian!

Taken at Hallstatt!

Taken at Hallstatt!

The view from our Saturday hike featuring my favorite Colombian!

The view from our Saturday hike featuring my favorite Colombian!

My favorite Canadian.

My favorite Canadian.

Journals: Maggie-Austria Blog 2018-19

  • Maggie, Outbound to Austria

    Language Camp

    So in Austria all the Inbounds go to a Sprachkurs, or language camp for two weeks. It’s a time for the students to really learn german basics and to get to know each other. It was held at a boarding school on this beautiful lake called Traunsee. The first night we arrived, we were interviewed to determine which level class we should be in: beginner, intermediate, or advanced. Initially, I was put into the advanced class (A big thanks to D6970 for all the language prep)! However, after one day of that class I asked to be switched into intermediate. We were going over more advanced grammar in only german in the advanced class, and while I could keep up, I felt like it wasn’t going to be very beneficial for my progress. After a few days of being in the intermediate class, I knew I made a great decision. I was learning SO MUCH and building a really strong foundation for my language skills. Also, I really bonded with my teacher. Her name is Kathi and she went on exchange to Australia with RYE and now she is a middle school teacher. She was so helpful with questions about German and exchange! She used her vacation from teaching, to teach! Her service made a pretty big impact on me. Honestly, I am so grateful for the Rotexes involved with Rotary here in Austria and back home in Florida. I was so glad to have her as my Lehrerin (teacher)! My schedule everyday went as the following:

    Frühstück (Breakfast): 7:30

    Unterricht (classes): 8:15-11:30

    Mittagessen + Pause (Lunch and Break): 12:00

    Unterricht (More classes): 1:30-300

    Freizeit (Free time): 3:00-6:00

    Abendessen (Dinner): 6:00

    Unterricht (Study Hall): 8:00-9:00

    Licht Aus (Light‘s out): 10:00

    During my free time, I went swimming in Traunsee and to cafes with my friends. A lot of students weren’t thrilled about how much time we spent in class, but honestly it was my favorite part of camp! On the weekend, we had some really fun activities that Rotary provided for us. On Saturday we went on a really nice hike with a beautiful view! And on Sunday we went to the infamous Hallstatt. Hallstatt is this stunning Austrian town in Upper Austria. It’s also the first picture that pops up when you google Austria. In the morning we went into a prehistoric salt mine and went on-wait for it-Europe‘s longest underground slide! It was pretty cool guys. For lunch we picnicked on the mountain, and afterwards we hiked down. In the afternoon, we had time to ourselves to explore the beautiful town of Hallstatt. I had been looking forward to seeing this town for so long, and it did not disappoint! I think my favorite part of the day was going to and from Hallstatt. The view on the drive was sehr schön! While the first week felt like my entire exchange year, the second week flew by so fast! During the two weeks I was becoming very impatient with myself. I just wanted to be able to express myself in German. I wanted to speak freely in my host language. However, I didn’t realize how much German I was actually gaining. Things were slowly starting to sink in. By Saturday when my host mom and sister picked me up, we dove right into the German-and I was able to keep up. Of course they kept it pretty simple, but I was able to understand almost everything and reply! When I didn’t understand something, I would ask for them to clarify (In German) and they would find a simpler way to explain it (Also in German!). Later that day we had dinner with some family friends and I was able to keep up a whole conversation about politics, exchange, history, etc. with a really nice, older woman I had never met before. Was my german perfect? No. Not even close. I sounded like an American, attempting to speak another language-but I just went for it! I cared more about what I was saying and less about how I was saying it. While my two weeks of Sprachkurs taught me a lot grammatically, it mainly just gave me the confidence to speak a new language. I am so thankful to Rotary Austria for having this language camp for the Inbounds. It has really jumpstarted my language progress. I also want to thank RYE Florida and D6970 for all the training I was given. Every little thing I was taught or required to do, from the Research Paper to how to address Rotarians, was so helpful! In places where other exchange students were confused or struggling, I knew exactly what to do. Vielen Dank Rotary!

    Advice for future OB‘s to Austria:

    Focus- While language camp is about bonding with other exchange students and having fun, it is also a great opportunity to advance your language skills! When you’re in class pay attention!

    Ask questions- At school in America, it can be easy to just stay in the back and not ask questions. Usually if you don’t understand something, you can fake it till you make it; but here, you’re in a foreign country learning a foreign language! If you don’t understand when to use Akkusativ or Dativ, or how to conjugate Reflexive Verbs, just ask. You’re here for one year, and there’s just not enough time to be embarrassed over a "dumb question".

    It’s okay to ask for help- I’m a very independent person and I always hate asking for help. I guess I just don’t like being a burden. The thing is though, that you can’t figure everything out by yourself, especially on exchange! My dad once told me, "You will never get to know your neighbor if you don't ask to borrow a cup of sugar." And this is so true! Asking for help will not only clarify things for you, but also help you get to know more people on your exchange.

    Take advantage of your time now- You are going to hear it a billion times: Learn the language. Let this be the time that it sticks! I thought I did really well when it came to learning the language. I studied often, I could talk a little bit with german speakers. I learned how to sound like I knew German (to non-speakers), and it helped with Rotary training, but once I got here I was really lost! And with that being said...

    Learn vocab- When you get here, you will learn sentence structure and grammar, but the most important thing that you can learn now is vocabulary. Make flash cards, label things in your house, find sets on online, and make sure that when you learn the vocab, you learn the word, the article, and how to make it plural.

    Show some Gratitude- The teachers who are there for you are volunteering two weeks of their vacation to teach you german! Bring some Thank You stationery and some American candy. Learn how to say thank you in german! The first german word I was taught by RYE Florida was “Dankbar”. It means grateful. You can also show your gratitude through your actions. Always be on time, stay positive, and follow directions. Don’t be one of those stereotyped, “disrespectful, complaining Americans”. The people at this camp help determine if you can go on trips or not, or go to places on your own. How you behave in these two weeks will also affect how easy they will make it for you to travel.

    Well that’s all for now. Next week I start school in Austria! Bis Später Alligator!

    Click HERE to read more about Maggie and all her blogs

  • Maggie, Outbound to Austria

    Background on my exchange

    Before I go into all the details of my time here in Austria, let me tell you a little bit about my situation. So I am in the capitol: Vienna, Austria. As of now I live in Floridsorf in District 21. I live with a big family and have 3 siblings: my older sister Iduna (19), my younger sister Freia (12), and my brother Baldur (7). I also have a sister Rhea, (15) who is in New Mexico for her exchange.

    I really love my family dynamic. Back in Florida, I also have three siblings, but I am the second youngest. Now I am the second oldest! My family lives in a really beautiful apartment with a nice balcony, courtyard, and a lovely garden. Soon I will be attending a school called Sacré Coeur Privat Gymnasium. My younger sis also goes there.

    My First Week in Austria

    This week has been so amazing!  I feel like I’ve learned so many new things and have seen so much!

    Montag

    I arrived in the Vienna International Airport at 12:05 pm. My host family was at the airport as well as my little sister’s best friend! My host mom gave me a huge hug and immediately made me feel so welcomed! We put my luggage in their car and drove home. Usually she takes a quick route home, however she wanted me to see the city, so we took a route that allowed me to get a glimpse at Downtown Vienna. My eyes got bigger and bigger with every corner we turned. We then came home and ate a snack. We had a pound cake and a delicious apple vanilla tart-both baked by my older sister! My host mom is a landscape architect so she is very creative. Our apartment is beautifully decorated and has plants everywhere. I love it! After we ate, I unpacked my luggage. While I was unpacking, my sisters asked me if I wanted to go swimming in the Danube River. The Danube is the second largest River in Europe and it flows through a lot of Central and Eastern Europe. Many locals here go swimming in it. There are many parts and channels of the Danube. The water felt so nice and it was such a pretty day.  Afterwards we went home, had dinner, and went over the schedule of the week and questions about exchange. It was a perfect first day!

    Dienstag

    On Tuesday, my older sister took me into Downtown Vienna and showed me my school, my little brother’s school, her university, and a lot of the famous buildings in Vienna. She also took Baldur and me to her favorite Ice Cream place. I learned that Topfen is the German word for cream cheese. It’s my sister’s favorite Ice Cream flavor. She was explaining the flavor to me and once I understood, I interrupted “Oh, cream cheese!” She responded with “No! It’s definitely NOT cream cheese” When our ice cream came out, I took one bite and immediately recognized it as cream cheese. My host sister was an au pair in London for a year, and speaks fluent English, but in London they used the word Quark for cream cheese. When she heard cream cheese she imagined Feta or Cheddar. It was really interesting to compare the differences between Oxford English and American English.

    Mittwoch

    On Wednesday, I met one of my host grandpas for the first time. He might be one of the coolest people I have ever met! He is a historian and knows all the history about Vienna and Austria! He also has written a book about his own history and ancestry. As my host siblings’ Opa, he believes its his responsibility to teach his grandkids about the history, culture, art, and music of Vienna. He took my host brother, older sister and I to the Schatzkammer, or Imperial Treasury. We looked at beautiful crowns, capes, and jewels of the Hapsburg Dynasty. We even saw a very large Narwal Horn! Back in the day (The Holy Roman Empire), it was considered very rare and believed to have protective powers. We also drove around the city for a little bit, and he explained to me important buildings and history. He played for me famous classical music from Vienna, which I was a big fan of, and we talked over art, architecture, politics, music, etc. He only spoke a little English and I only spoke a little German, so we tried our best with both. It was a conversation full of hand gestures and pointing. But it was really nice, because it gave me the opportunity to practice my German! After our amazing morning, my siblings and I went home, took a quick nap, and went out for the afternoon. My sister took my little brother and I to an outdoor bath (it’s a pool) with the best view of Vienna! It’s called Krapfenwaldbad. Fun Fact: Krapfen translates to Donut Forest, but this pool is actually named after Franz Joseph Krapf.

    Donnerstag

    Thursday was very stressful. It was my first time traveling alone in the city and it did not go as smoothly as planned. I was invited by two girls from Australia who have been in Austria since January to hang out in the city. The night before, my host mom and sister helped me with directions and patiently explained how the public transport system worked. The next morning, I was feeling confident and ready to take on Vienna. As I walked to the tram near my house, I remember thinking “Wow, I’m gonna remember this as the first time I was able to go in the city alone.” False. I confused the S-Bahn for the U-Bahn (the S-bahn is a local train, and the U-bahn is the subway)! As I was leaving the station, the scenery around me looked so unfamiliar (Red Flag #1). With each stop I was getting more and more panicked. Also, did I mention at that point I didn’t have a phone plan? I was having serious trouble with getting a new sim card, so I went into Vienna alone, without a working phone, hoping I would find wifi along the way (Red Flag #2). So, I’m on the U6, realizing that I’m not where I’m supposed to be, and that I was supposed to be there 25 minutes ago. So, I stepped off the subway, and did the only thing I knew how to do: go back home. When I got to my home train station, I got wifi, called my friends, and explained to them what happened and that I was just gonna go home. Then I realized I had no idea what tram I was supposed to take home. I texted my sister, no reply. My other sister, no reply. Then I texted my host mom. She gave me instructions, but in German. I finally figured it out, and went home. When I arrived at my apartment, I pulled out my keys, and tried to unlock the door. (So a little side note about my apartment. I have three different doors I have to unlock and each are unlocked a different way.) I couldn't unlock the door! I was stuck in the street, and had no Wifi, so I couldn't tell my host mom that I was stuck outside. At this point I was ready to assume fetal position and let the tears flow but then my neighbor arrived and unlocked the door. I tried to go in with her and she said, “Um can I help you?” Ahhhh. It was so stressful. I was struggling to say in German that I was an exchange student and living with a family in the apartment building, but somehow she understood and let me in. Then, I got locked out at my second door. She tried to help and couldn't figure it out, so I borrowed her phone and called my host mom. My host mom called another neighbor who showed me how to do it. Once I was inside, I crashed on my bed and slept for two hours. It was a very emotional day. Fortunately, I was a able to laugh about it later with my host mom. In fact, as I am writing this, I can proudly say I have mastered public transport in Vienna.

    Freitag

    Friday was a MUCH MUCH better day. My host sister spontaneously took my brother and I to Schönbrunn Palace, where we walked around the gardens and had a wonderful lunch. We were going to tour inside the palace, however the tour was going to be too long, and we had to attend a Rotary Event that evening as a family. So instead, we went with my host brother’s choice of museum: The Vienna Natural History Museum. It wasn't as interesting to me as some of the other museums, but watching his face when he saw the Dinosaurs and Mammoths was so funny! His favorite animal in the museum is the Ostrich! That evening, I had my first Rotary Function. It was a dinner at one of the Rotarian’s house. She lives in a beautiful cottage outside of the city. It was really nice to meet everyone, however I couldn't understand much of the conversation. It was really good for me though, because it motivated me to want to learn the language!

    Samstag

    On Saturday, we left Vienna for Styria, to stay at my Host Grandma’s house. She has a gorgeous house in the country that she and my Host-Grandpa have been slowly restoring for the past 10 years. It was at her house, that I had my first schnitzel. Schnitzel is a very typical Austrian Dish and is a thin piece of meat that is fried and served with jam. It was SO delicious. Also, it had that grandma’s touch, that made it especially tasty. Honestly, I could eat schnitzel everyday. The rest of the day was spent swimming and taking a nice walk in the woods near their house. In Austria, there are plants, and herbs, and berries everywhere. We would stop in the forest and eat raspberries, and then pick up some mushrooms to cook at home, and then my host dad would show me a good plant that helps with head aches. It was so cool! Also, my host sister told my little brother Fairytales about witches on our walk, because the woods that we were in looked like the were straight out of Hansel and Gretel! It was a fairy tale day away from the city.

    Sonntag

    Sunday morning, after we ate breakfast, we headed for Altmünster for my Rotary Language Camp. The drive to Altmünster was wunderschön! It was filled with mountains, lakes, and cute little villages. When we arrived, as my host parents dropped me off, I realized how lucky I am to be with the family that I’m in. As I said goodbye, my host dad gave me a bag of apples he had picked that morning at the country house. My host mom said “Maggie, if there is anything wrong, please call me. I am your mother now and I want you to be safe.” I knew she meant this more practically, but still. I was so touched! It was definitely bittersweet saying goodbye to them for two weeks.

    Well, that was my first and very eventful week of exchange! I learned so much, and fell in love with my new home! I am so excited for my year abroad! And with that, (to continue a tradition of last year’s OBs to Austria) I’d like to say: Bis Später Alligator!

    Advice for Future Outbounds to Austria:

    When you arrive, you will think that the biggest luxury in America is air conditioning, or tall drinks with lots of ice and free refills, or your queen bed! You are wrong. The biggest luxury back home is the ability to express yourself freely, without a language barrier. Being able to say exactly what you mean, without even thinking about it, is a privilege and something we take for granted. Sure your host fam might speak English, but being able to read an ad and understand it or know what your little host brother is saying is so gratifying! Also, if you're like me, a lot of your homesickness will stem from feeling isolated. Not being able to speak the language is a big part of this. What I’m trying to say is…Learn the language! Don’t put it off until summer. Don’t make false promises to yourself about how you will start tomorrow, or next week, or next semester! Now is the perfect time to start. There is so much time in the day that you can use to study your language. You can study on the school bus, during lunch, before bed, whenever! I promise, you will never, ever, ever say, “Wow, I wish I hadn’t studied German so much before I came.”

    Click HERE to read more about Maggie and all her blogs

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