Hello everyone, I am Huda from Malaysia. I am one of the PEACE Program participants for this year and currently hosted in Austria.

First thing first, I would really like to thank AFS for giving me this opportunity to be in Austria! It is really fun getting to know a new culture, new friends and be the youth peace maker, as well as learning more about being a global citizen.

I would like to share my first day of schooling here in Austria.
I am 17 so I am in Austrian High School or the people here call it Gymnasium.

I woke up at 5.15 a.m since I couldn’t really sleep that night thinking how will my first day in school be. I had my breakfast and went to school at 6.30 a.m with my host dad and my host sister and of course the whole journey from home to school was nerve-wracking because I was very nervous but also SUPER excited to meet other friends in school, but hey, being nervous is totally fine! Of course the first procedure I had to do was going to the school office. The lady there gave me a key for my locker (finally I got to feel how is it to have a locker since in my country we don’t have lockers!) When I first stepped in my classroom, everyone was looking at me and they all started shaking my hands and asking my name and where I’m from. When the lesson started, the teachers started to teach the students and some teachers were very welcoming towards me even though they speak in German for EVERYTHING.

Honestly, I was kinda struggling and also pressured to learn German since they learn everything in German here and what I will always do in class is just sitting and smiling for the whole time except English class! But my friends and also my host family are very very open to speaking English and they are also teaching me German.

The school is kinda big as well: it’s already been a month that I’m in this school but I’m still not an expert! My first day of school went better than I expected it to be. I was super scared of what people would think of me since I had my hijab but they WERE REALLY REALLY NICE and I’m thankful for that 🙂 The students were very nice as well, even though some of them were also shy since there was a ‘new girl’ in the class, and maybe they didn’t know what to say.

I also had my first English class on my first day! Overall, although the classes were all in German except English, I had fun because they were all very welcoming and friendly!

I am so happy to gain experience in a school that is very different from my school back home and the class that I am in now feels really close with my class in my home school as well 🙂