It was a week after we decided to get a dog and looked at the puppies (my family and I were sitting in a coffee shop called Heiner), when my parents broke out the news. We were going to Scotland for a year! My dad was a surgeon and he got a one-year job in a new country. At first, it was horrible news for my sister and me – my brother liked the idea of going away for a year – because we did not want to leave our friends behind. Soon, we had found a way of keeping in touch with them.
After that, everything happened really quickly. We had to tell our friends and family, we had to make decisions of what to take with us and what to leave behind. I thought the saddest and worst thing was saying goodbye to our friends, which was difficult, because we have known them for years and years. We also looked for some flats and found a pretty one in a place called Bruntsfield. After we left Vienna, we drove to a beautiful lake in Salzburg where we were able to enjoy the amazing weather for a week. Then we slept a night in Germany and ate some delicious Würstel. Soon, my family and I drove to France, where we had to wait for hours to get on a ferry that went to England. When we finally arrived, we stayed for another three or four days at the house of one of my dad’s friends. After we finally arrived in Scotland, we had to find our flat. Although it was nice, it felt strange and weird that this should be the place where we would stay for the rest of the year.
My parents found a place for my sister and brother in a school called Bruntsfield Primary School but sadly, there was no space for me. This is why I had to go to a different school called Tollcross. It was quite a walk away and I arrived late on my first day. I did not have a very good start in my new class and when my dad picked me up, I was devastated. I had not understood my classmates at all and I don’t think they had understood me either. Also, some people were not very nice to me. Some children talked about me behind my back. I think maybe it could be because I was new, or the people who were supposed to look after me wanted to be alone. But the day luckily passed quickly and after school I met my mum in the park, with my sister and brother, and told her about my bad experience. But my mum had a surprise for me, she said, “Guess what, Bruntsfield Primary School offered you a place!” I was amazed and really, really happy. So the next day I started at a new school again. I had some very nice people to show me around and my teacher was very nice and caring. I have even made some very, very good friends.
First of all, I did not understand a lot of things because of the language. But by now English feels almost like a second mother tongue to me. Over the year, we got to know new people and lots of them came from different countries as well. We have friends from France, Japan, Australia, Germany and some from Scotland.
Altogether, we had about three Highland holidays: one camping, one on the Isle of Skye and one on the Isle of Mull. Now we only have about two more months to go until my family and I return to Austria. I am very excited to return but I will miss my friends who live here. We did something similar to this before, we went to Winchester for a year when I was six.
I enjoyed learning everything about this country, it was a great experience. To be honest, I didn’t really know a lot about Scotland before. So it was a really exciting and an amazing experiment for my family and me. Scotland is very different to Austria, first of all, it has much bigger parks and it is very old and has lots of old and spooky castles. It also has a big volcano where you get very sweaty when you go up and some very funny clubs you can go to. Austria, on the other hand, has much better weather but it can get quite windy too. Also, you go hiking more often because we have bigger mountains.
I learned a lot of things here but most of all I learned that going to new countries is a great experience for you and your family. It has been nourishing for my life.