Austrian teen enjoys American experience in Mexia

By Roxanne McKnight
Staff Writer

Some people dream of a European vacation, but one European fulfilled his dream of visiting the United States by making an extended visit to Mexia.

Seventeen-year-old Jakob Aigner, of Austria, has spent the last 10 months in Mexia as an exchange student, learning for himself what living in the United States is like.

Two years ago, the teen hadn’t even considered leaving his hometown of Riedau in northern Austria, but around December 2011, one of his friends told Jakob of his trip to Florida and how much he had enjoyed it.
Jakob began to want to travel to the United States himself and enjoy some of the things his friend had described.

Jakob’s father helped his son complete the application to become a Rotary Club exchange student, and in August 2012 the young man found himself stepping onto a plane and leaving behind his parents, Christian and Elizabeth Aigner, and brothers, Lucas, 22, and Niklas, 11.

With the fearlessness of a 17-year-old, he wasn’t nervous about traveling so far from home, only that he might miss his flight.
Now that he has had so many positive experiences in the United States, he doesn’t want to go home.

“I really don’t want to leave anymore because it’s so great here,” he said. “I love America. I can’t imagine living all the time here.”

Two Mexia Rotarian families were hosts to Jakob, John “Bud” and Jody Tacker for seven months, Rick and Teresa Price for three.

During his stay, Jakob says he’s been most changed by exposure to the warmth and kindness of this rural Texas town.

To read more, pick up a copy of Tuesday's The Mexia News, or subscribe to our e-edition.