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The First Weeks As An Exchange Student

I’m Jessica and I am from Austria, but right now I’m living in a Suburb of Dallas, Texas for my exchange year. I will be taking you with me on...

I’m Jessica and I am from Austria, but right now I’m living in a Suburb of Dallas, Texas for my exchange year. I will be taking you with me on my journey and I’ll be telling you about my experience as a 15 year old girl in a new Country across the Atlantic 8700 km away from home. :)

Let’s start at the beginning. The first time I heard about an exchange year was in January 2021, I was interested in doing it and looked further into agencies and talked to former exchange students who told me more about it and their experience. In February/ March I talked to my parents about it, they liked the idea but obviously it’s a lot of money so they didn’t say yes yet. I tried everything I could to convince them - and it worked ! I saved money to pay for a part myself and tried getting some scholarships ( haven’t had any luck with it tho ).

After going through the whole process of the application and the Visa and other paperwork, the only thing missing was a Hostfamily, and it was already the end of July. I was in Italy at the time with my family for vacation, and was sad about not having a placement but I tried staying positive and not losing my hope to still get a Family.

Then, on our last day in Italy, the 29th of July (we only had a few hours left until we drove back to Austria ), I got an EMail. It read something along the lines : Your Placement ! I was in shock, i didn’t think i would get my Hostfamily before August but there it was. My Placement.

I always kind of knew I would get placed in Texas, it was just a feeling I always had, and was very happy with everything, my Welcome family, my City and High School.

I surprised my Family & Friends at my Farewell Party with my Placement, while all of them were excited for me, we all kind of realized that was it. I would leave Austria in 10 days for a year. My last few days were great, i spent as much time as possible with my Family and they went by fast.

Then the day was here, I flew from Vienna to Newark on the 9th of August for my Orientation days and to Texas on the 12th. My Hostamily picked me up at the Airport and we went home. It was all very Overwhelming at first but everyone was very kind to me and tried to make me feel at home.

Today is the 13th of September and I’ve been here for a month now. The time flew by way too fast, it sometimes feels like I’ve only been here for a week and in the next moment it feels like I've been here my whole lifetime. I started school about four weeks ago and I’m slowly making friends but it's hard. Everyone told me people would just come right up to me but that's not the case - at least not for me. I joined the soccer team as a manager and found people there to talk to, I also made some other exchange student friends - there is this one girl from Italy I talk to a lot. If you are trying to make friends just go up to someone in your classes and ask questions and tell them you're an exchange student. If you can, join a club or a sports team, it helps a lot with finding friends and meeting new people.

In the past month I experienced a lot, and they weren’t all good things. I was sick a weekend soon after I arrived, I had nothing to do and besides being physically sick I also got homesick, and let me tell you, it’s not fun. I cried a lot and felt lonely, but I talked to people and it helped. If you are ever homesick - which is normal and it happens to most exchange students sometime during their exchange year, try distracting yourself, do something with your host family or with friends and I know most people say talking to your family back home is making it worse, but it helped me. They helped me get through it and also reminded me why I wanted to go on exchange in the first place.
Besides being home sick I also went to my first football game, helped my host sister move into her dorm for college, tried a lot of different sweets, went to starbucks ( sometimes multiple times a day - yes. I am addicted ), tried fast food in different restaurants and went Homecoming dress shopping ( I didn’t find anything though ).

I am very excited to see what my remaining time here has to offer, and whether those experiences will be good or bad, I'll learn from it like I’ve done so far.

7 comments on The First Weeks As An Exchange Student
  • Juho
    JuhoJanuary 29, 2024

    You’re so pretty. I hope you’ll have a great time in america<3

  • Melina
    MelinaOctober 03, 2022

    JESSIE
    i‘ m sure you‘ll have the best time of your life in ameria

  • Olivia
    Olivia October 02, 2022

    YAYYYY JESSIE

  • Kaja
    KajaOctober 02, 2022

    Hi jessie,
    OMG I love what I just read. I even follow you on insta. Have a lot if fun. Can you maybe take us with you for a hole day?

  • sophie
    sophieOctober 02, 2022

    WIE COOL JESSI OMG

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Exchange isn’t a period in your life, it’s a life within a period…
Exchange isn’t a period in your life, it’s a life within a period…
Exchange isn’t a period in your life, it’s a life within a period…
Exchange isn’t a period in your life, it’s a life within a period…
Exchange isn’t a period in your life, it’s a life within a period…
Exchange isn’t a period in your life, it’s a life within a period…

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