Me, directly after I found out I was going to Austria on exchange

My name is Ashlyn Neader, and I am 16 years old. I’m from La Crosse, Wisconsin in the USA. When I was in middle school, I watched as my older brother got involved in Rotary and became an exchange student to Denmark through Rotary’s youth exchange program. I was immediately sold on doing the same thing as I watched all the beautiful ways his exchange year transformed him.

Now it’s my turn. I started the process in the fall of 2015. I went to the informational meetings, filled out my application, and passed two sets of interviews. In January, after my first Rotary get-together in Madison, I got the phone call that changed my life (while shopping at TJ Maxx, of all places!). This phone call told me the country I would be living in, since Rotary doesn’t allow you to simply pick a specific country. My Rotary club called and said “how does Austria sound?” I responded “it sounds great!”, then proceeded to cry of happiness in the middle of TJ Maxx.

Around 7 months later, it’s all finally beginning to feel real. I’m feeling so many different feelings at once, every day. I have only 4 days until I leave the US. I’m sad to say goodbye to my family, friends, cats,(honestly) and country. However, I’m excited to begin a new chapter of my life and explore the beautiful country of Austria.

I will use this blog to give updates on my exchange year in Austria. If you would like to get an email each time I add a new blog post, you may subscribe using the form below:


Feel free to ask me any questions (or kick me if I’m not blogging enough, haha).



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