Amazing August
 
A great update from our Outbound student Caitlin Norvil, who is in Austria on Rotary Youth Exchange.
 
August has been a month of change and improvement, not only in my exchange but also in my state of mind and my perspective on life. I recently changed host families, saw some family members from New Zealand and spent a lot of time with friends and family. Looking back at this month I have realized how much this exchange has impacted my life and mental state and I am grateful and blessed to experience it.

 
August has been a month of change and improvement, not only in my exchange but also in my state of mind and my perspective on life. I recently changed host families, saw some family members from New Zealand and spent a lot of time with friends and family. Looking back at this month I have realized how much this exchange has impacted my life and mental state and I am grateful and blessed to experience it.
Seeing my cousin
Earlier in the month I was lucky enough to see my cousin who was on a Europe trip and happened to visit Vienna. It was amazing being able to see a family member and hear the familiar kiwi accent and slang. We flounced around the city in a flurry of laughs enjoying the sights and one another’s company.
 
Becoming a tour guide
Lately I have been showing a lot of people around Vienna and Linz ( two major cities in Austria ). This involves old and new exchange students and family members. I may even call myself an expert when it comes to Vienna. Throughout this month I have shown at least 30 students and adults around these cities and could seriously make a living out of it. It makes me happy and confident to know that I can travel and know my surroundings so well without fret.
 

Moving host families
Moving host families was the best thing I’ve done. My new host family is so loving, understanding and such kind people. They own a fruit orchard and a Bio shop. They grow apples, peaches, pears, grapes and plums and sell all bio products in there shop connected to their 1798 Austrian farm house. I am lucky enough to help in the shop as well as in the orchard packing rice, apple chips etc as well as organizing the shop. My host family also loves when I make marmite scrolls. I really feel apart of this family and so welcomed and
loved. I have also introduced them to my real parents over FaceTime.
 
Traveling
My family encourages me to travel as much as I can during the school holidays, so I have been doing lots of trips to Salzburg, Vienna and the lakes surrounding my area. I also visited the new exchange students while they were on their language camp. Making friends with exchange students is so easy and I love them all. Being able to travel with friends is amazing and it has turned my summer around. I have been able to stay with other exchange students and their host families which is great because they are all such lovely people.
 
Seeing my Grandad
My Grandad was on a tour of Europe and stopped into Vienna and I was lucky enough to be able to show him and his friends around for the day. It was nice to see a familiar face but it was also a massive realisation how much more mature and confident I have gotten since being on exchange. I used to be scared to walk to school by myself or to take the train up to Auckland ( which is one line and it goes straight ) by myself,  where as now I will get on a train anywhere by myself and teach others how to navigate the underground in Vienna. I remember being so scared about the airports and travel and now I’m already planning my next big trip and where I want to go next after my exchange. It’s amazing how much someone can change in the space of 8 months.
 
 
Overall
This month has changed my perspective on exchange and how to handle situations. I feel like I am stronger and I am so grateful for rotary and my family ( real and host ) for the support and care they have shown me. My German has gotten so much better and I am genuinely happy and excited for things to come. My new hobbie is to talk to old couples at bus or train stations. I have decided to live in the moment and enjoy every aspect of Exchange even if it is challenging. This year has flown by so quickly so I only have 4 months left to experience everything I can.
located in centre.
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