Audrey Ford is a junior, who is also a foreign exchange student in Austria this year. She left in early August and will be there for a full year. While overseas, she will be staying with three different host families and attending BRG Borg Kirchdorf High School.
When Audrey left America, she reported, “About three months before I left, I was extremely excited, and could think about nothing else. When it came to the night before I had to leave, I could do nothing but cry, cry, and cry a little bit more. I had come to the realization of everything I’d be leaving behind, and the memories that I would miss being able to make. I would miss my brother’s senior year of high school, my sister’s first day of school, and I would be leaving my boyfriend.”
When asked what she was looking forward to the most, she responded, “I was looking forward to being able to make friends around the world, and be able to come home and describe myself as a bilingual person.”
When asked if Austria is anything like she expected, she answered, “Yes and no. It is exactly what I expected in terms of traveling, and making friends from other countries. No, as in homesickness hit me really hard when I first came here, which surprised me beyond belief.”
Attempting to explain how Austria is different than America, she explained, “I can absolutely write without hesitation, that I hate the fact that ice itself is non-existent in Austria. I can also say that I love how no matter where you are in Austria, there’s always a beautiful sight to take a picture of.”
Now that she has been out of the country for a little over a month, her feelings have changed. “I feel that every day becomes a little easier. Everyone has different strategies to get through an exchange. Mine just happens to be, to take it one day at a time.”
She continued, “I’ve been hiking with all of my host families, as I will have three this year, and also went on a vigorous hike to the peak of a mountain with other exchange students. I’ve also been shopping in major cities across Austria.”
Her favorite things in Austria include, “My favorite thing about Austria would have to be the food. They’ve even dominated the all-American cheeseburger and fries. Though, their schnitzel does work wonders.”