The Austrian Exchange Meeting

In three weeks time, our fourteen-years-old daughter will travel to Austria with 26 other students from her school. She’s there for a week and will be living with a girl called Maria and her family in the south-east of the country. What an amazing opportunity she’s got in front of her on this Austrian Exchange.

Tonight was the information meeting for parents. Documents have been signed and passport handed over (or it would have been if I’d remembered to take the damn thing!). We had a PowerPoint slideshow and now know her itinerary. I can’t deny that I am a little envious of what she’s about to experience. Foreign exchanges weren’t something that went on at the high school I went to. Maybe I am just jealous of the photo opportunities she’ll get in Austria, in winter! Oh Vienna (to quote Ultravox).

The Exchange Student

Back in April last year when we moved them out of the secondary school that was doing nothing for them to the other local school we never imagined this would be happening. Granted, it’s a specialist language college but still, it never crossed my mind.

I should have realised one of our girls would go abroad when in July we welcome Gloria into our home from Austria. This was, in fact, Lydia who put herself forward to host on this one-way exchange (hence that wasn’t really an exchange at all). Just weeks after moving to the school she was in the thick of it.

We had a great week with Gloria and enjoyed having her stay. I’m hopeful that Grace will get the change to meet up with her while she is in Austria as she staying in the same town where she lives!

Nervous parents

It’s natural to feel a little nervous, isn’t it? After all, we’re sending one of our children on an aeroplane, to a foreign country, to stay with a family of strangers for a week. But do you know what, I’m not so nervous.


Because Grace is one of those characters that just adapts to any situation. She friendly, kind, has empathy in bucket fulls and will just get on with it. The fact she can’t speak a word of German doesn’t seem to phase her at all!

Sie spricht kein Deutsch

No, Grace doesn’t speak German.

At her old school, she only did Spanish. So when she moved to her new school she no longer did Spanish, instead, the offering was French and German. So frankly, in just two full school terms her German won’t be up to the task. 

Does this bother Grace in the slightest?

Absolutely not. But I think she’s hopeful that Maria and her family are better at English than she is at German. If not, then she’s in for a really interesting week!

The only shocking fact

So, we covered the insurance, the flight, the transfers, the itinerary and food at the meeting. There was one thing that shocked me and one that shocked Grace.

For me, the 3am departure from school is going to be challenging!

For Grace, it was the fact that school starts at 07:55am in Austria!!!

Awesome time

The fact is that Grace is going to have an awesome time.

She will spend time in Vienna. There will be wintery woodland walks and sledging. She’ll be visiting a chocolate factory. And, if her host family are into it (and apparently most Austrians are) she might have the chance to go skiing!

The Austrian Exchange Meeting | Vienna | The Yorkshire Dad of 4
Vienna in the snow

Really, I’m not jealous at all!

I can’t wait to hear all about what a great time she’s had upon her return. And, of course, I will be writing a blog about it. Even better, I might get Grace to write a guest post.

Thanks for reading.



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