Three unforgettable weeks in Austria

Valeriya Maltseva

I was a participant of Lions Youth Camp. It was the best three weeks spent in Austria. Should I tell everything from the beginning?

The trip took place completely spontaneously and I quickly wrote a letter to the “host family”, an application form in order to be on time, and remained in the hope that they would take me. A week before the trip itself, I was informed that I was going and even then, there were mixed emotions, fear, because the excitement of going to another country and communicating in English was scary, there were many questions and worries in my head, but I gathered myself and went.

Since there was a war in my country, it was a difficult journey by train and bus, but I was happy that there were not many questions and inspections at the border, so I ended up in Poland, then the Czech Republic, and then I don’t remember the road because I fell asleep.

Opening my eyes already in Vienna, I completely forgot what I was worried about, having spent a whole day in the capital of Austria, I was filled with the atmosphere of this city and was waiting for a meeting with the “host family”.

First of all, I got to know Fritz Drobesch, my “host dad”, with whom I had not too much correspondence before the trip. He seemed cheerful and sweet to me, so some of my fears went into the background. I also met other girls and one boy from the camp at the airport, but we quickly said our goodbyes on our way to Admont, the city where I will spend a week with a “host family”. As it turned out, I am not the only girl who will be in this family, Asta from Denmark and Diana from Italy will also live with me.

The road was not difficult, but everyone was tired, and after arriving in Admont, Gabi’s hugs simply calmed them down. My first meeting with the “host mom” was very sweet, because this woman lit up everyone with her smile.

Also in my “host family” were Felix (he was also a staff member at the camp), Ellie and her cute son Joseph, who made him smile every minute.

The week at the “host family” was a bit difficult, because you get used to the fact that you will not speak your own language, and also the question was in your head: “do I speak English correctly”, but later this question was forgotten and you spoke as you wanted During this week, I got to know the music, food and national clothes of Austria.

We walked around Admont during the day and at night, went for a walk in Hallstatt in traditional clothes, went boating on a beautiful lake near the mountains, went to Liezen and to the mountains, came to Graz for an excursion and getting to know people who will be in a different camp from Lions.

I remember the day when many teenagers came to Admont, we went to the library and then ended up at my “host family’s” house, where there was a pool party. There I met many nice people from different countries.

The last full day we spent with the girls on the Licen walk, and in the evening Asta and I had a good time on the walk with Ellie and we had a good talk.

On the last day we had a very tasty lunch with the “host family” and then we went to the camp.

The camp was in Hinterstedt, 15 teenagers and me, as well as wonderful staff.

This camp is musical and music was everywhere, we sang almost all day, even outside the choir. To my surprise, my role in the choir was “soprano” and it was a bit difficult, but good. The next two weeks were positive and bright. We went on excursions to Vienna and the Mall, we had picnics and excellent walks, workshops where we learned people’s opinions about countries, cultures and privileges in life.

We all also went to the pool, on various walks and, of course, to the supermarket eating Austrian sweets.

It was the best two weeks because I met different people that I hope to keep in touch with for a long time and I hope to meet them in the future.

The most exciting moments of the camp were the birthdays of the people in it and the preparation for the last concert, just like the last concert itself.

At the last concert, I cried a lot because I didn’t want to go and stay longer with beautiful people. The song “Riptide” has become the song of this camp for me personally, every time I listen to it, I cry from memories and good thoughts.

We all perfectly understood that we may never meet again, but the main desire. So everything is possible with our strength and the strength of the Lions Club.

I am very glad that I was a participant in this exchange, I am glad that I visited Austria and got to know many good people.

After writing this text, I am crying, crying because of the emotions in my soul, because these have been the best three weeks.