On October 26, over 70 exchange students (everyone on exchange to Austria and Croatia) loaded a double-decker bus in Linz, Austria bound for Prague, then Dresden and Berlin. We had a beautiful 4-day adventure, exploring three new cities.

A quick overview of each city:

– We took a guided tour of the most important points of the city including Charles Bridge, St. Vitus Cathedral, and the town square.
– Prague reminded me of Vienna, but a bit calmer and close together, and a lot more colorful. However I never felt the same connection to Prague as I do to Vienna, but I might just be biased.
– I really visited Prague at the perfect time. The fall colors were at their peak, and it was really the most beautiful thing to see red, orange, and yellow nature all around.
– I saw a wiener dog wearing a pink sweater. This isn’t necessarily an impression of Prague but I feel like it needed to be mentioned because it made me really happy.
– Although I was only in Prague, Czech Republic for a day, I instantly fell in love.

– We took a walking guided tour in German of Dresden and hit all the main points, such as the Semperoper, Frauenkirche, and Zwinger Palace gardens.
– I really loved Dresden. It’s a big city, but not too big, and it wasn’t super crowded and not too touristy. It was really easy to navigate as well, and has lots of fascinating history and beautiful architecture.

– I was in Berlin during my short term Germany exchange at the end of June this year, so really recently. At the time, I felt no connection to Berlin, and I might even stretch to say that I was a bit disappointed. I was, however, excited to come back again this time and get a different impression. My second time around was so much better. I could hardly believe that the city I was seeing was the same one I saw 4 months ago.
– We took a long bus tour of the city and learned lots about it. We took short breaks at some important sites – The remaining parts of the wall, the Brandenburg Gate, and Checkpoint Charlie.
– In only one day, I ate Currywurst 3 times. Currywurst is one of my favorite foods of all time, and it’s very uncommon to find it anywhere besides Germany. It’s basically a really good Bratwurst topped with a curry ketchup sauce and yellow curry seasoning. It’s a must-try thing…explaining the taste can’t do it justice, you have to taste it to believe it.
– I was so amazed with the art within Berlin. There was beautiful street art everywhere, and the remaining pieces of the Berlin wall bear breathtaking, meaningful murals.
– I hope I can visit Berlin again sometime. It is a huge city, and there’s still so much for me to explore.
– Although it took more than one visit to reach this conclusion, I can really say that this time, I fell in love with Berlin.

The Prague-Dresden-Berlin trip was a beautiful opportunity to see more of the world, bond with friends (and make some new ones), and learn about the complex histories that each city holds. I got so much closer with a lot of the other exchange students during this trip, because we spent a total of 20+ hours in the bus while driving to each city. The other exchange students in Austria have become like my family.. I’m not sure if I’ve ever gotten so close with a group of people so fast before. Overall, I am so thankful for this opportunity and for Rotary who put this together for us!

With the US Presidential election coming up, I am planning on doing a blog soon about what it’s like to be an American here in Austria.

Additionally, last night, I did a Live Q&A via Facebook about my life and exchange in Austria. You can view this video at

Auf Wiederschauen,
Ashlyn xx

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