It hasn’t quite hit me that in about a week I’ll be settling into my new home in Vienna, Austria. Having watched my sister study abroad in Florence, Italy, I’ve dreamed of this day for years, wishing and hoping that I would get the opportunity to study abroad in Europe, just as she did.
Talking to her about her experience and what to expect, she gave me a few of the normal tips: stay safe when you go out, lock away your passport, etc. Then, just as the other students who have studied abroad had, she promised that I’d learn more about myself and my faith than I ever thought possible.
So, as I sit in front of my open suitcase and stuffed carry-on, I’m overwhelmed with excitement for the next five months to come. I can’t wait to visit the places I’ve circled in my Austria guidebook, learn all about Austria’s rich history in my classes, wander and photograph Austria’s beautiful landscapes, and explore all of Vienna’s small, quaint coffee shops and restaurants.
Having planned this trip from the time I was in middle school, I have a few other things that I’d like to accomplish while I’m there, too:
- Become Fluent in the Language. Having taken German for 6 years of my life now, it’s going to be exciting to be able to put all of my hard work and studying into practice!
- Travel. I don’t know the next time I’m going to be able to travel out of the United States – or if I’m ever going to get this chance again! I want to take advantage of all that Europe has to offer while I’m in Austria.
- Meet People. I want to become friends with not only the other students on the program with me, but with locals from the area as well!
- Immerse Myself in the Culture. This means not only learning to live as the locals do, but not allowing myself to be caught up in what I’m missing back in the States, either. I need to be mentally in Austria in order to fully envelop myself in my experiences.
- Keep a Journal. I want to be able to look back and read about the little things and laugh. This is just one way to be able to reflect on my trip once I come home.
Knowing some of these will be harder than others, I’ve realized that studying abroad in a foreign country isn’t going to be happy-go-lucky at all times. Keeping this in mind, I’m willing and beyond excited to see what this Austrian opportunity has in store for me!