Taylor, Outbound to Austria

When I think of how my exchange has been so far I have running through my head is a million experiences that I could never even come close to capturing the magic of in just this journal. Both good and bad, but a learning experience with all. To the future outbounds, I hope you have that feeling soon as well.

I love my host family more than anything, spending time with them is my favorite thing to do here. I thought that Christmas and New Years would be a hard time to be away from home, but really I was having such a great time with my family here that I was not even thinking much on what I am missing at home. I think that is also an important key to a good exchange is to stop worrying about what is happening at home. Home will always be there, the experience to live across the world for a whole year won’t be. And honestly, with time you will not even think of it as being away from home. It will just feel like your ‘other’ home. That is what I love most.

I think one of the craziest things about exchange is really how fast it goes. I have been here for five months already and it feels like I just blinked. Another thing is, even if I went back to Florida right now, I would look at everything completely differently. It feels like I have learned more in these five months than I have in my whole life. I knew that I would be grateful for learning on my exchange but wow… wow. However, there were definitely some hard times so far. At first I did not have many Austrian friends, I was not used to eating such different foods, and I even ended up in the hospital from skateboarding at one point. But in these times, I feel I learned the most. But now, oh my goodness- even the smallest things are so easy to appreciate. I think that one thing exchange really teaches you is how to live in the now, when worrying about the past or the future it is easy to forget to live NOW.

To the future outbounds, I promise it gets so much easier and before you know it you will be having the time of your life. That being said, exchange is also what you make of it. Knowing the language makes everything so much easier and less stressful, so get STUDYING! I promise promise promise that you will feel so much better if you do. I recommend that leading up to your exchange you mostly focus on learning VOCAB words. Once you get the Vocab down, you can at least talk like a caveman and the grammar will eventually come too. Eventually into your exchange, your brain will just click into place and you will be like ‘wow, I am actually understanding people’s conversations’ and it is such a great feeling.

The best of luck to all of the Outbounds(study vocab ;))!!!

Xoxo, Taylor from Austria

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