"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."

Keila Garcia
January 10, 2017

Growing up I never traveled. The most traveling I did was to South Padre Island on weekends with my family; it was only a fifteen minute ride from my house. There was simply not enough money to do much traveling. It wasn’t until I went to college that I was able to go outside the vicinity of my hometown and even then I was just 5 hours away from home. A year ago, I remember how Austin was such a new world to me but never in a thousand years would I ever think that I would be studying abroad in Germany for a semester.

Google has been my best friend these past couple of weeks. I can probably tell you what the best restaurant is to eat at Freiburg in accordance with Trip Advisor. I know how long it will take me to get from the IES Abroad Center to where my home will be with the help of Google Maps. I’ve googled images of the Black Forest during winter. Yes, I have made sure to have snow boots. But that’s all I’ve done. It won’t be until I get to Freiburg that I’ll be able to experience all of these things. I have been anticipating this moment for quite some time now –living in a foreign city on my own learning a foreign language. I’ve even started the Rosetta Stone course to make sure I know the basics.

In just a couple of hours I will be in Freiburg and then I’ll be on my own. Presently I am in bed 2 hours and 33 minutes from the IES Abroad Center in Freiburg. In just a couple of hours I’ll be in Freiburg starting a new adventure and I am not sure if my excitement will let me sleep tonight. I’ve been in Germany for about a month now staying with my sister in Kaiserslautern and I have never been more sure that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I feel like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz when she says, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we aren’t in Kansas anymore.” I’ve a feeling I am not in Texas anymore and I am loving every second of it. I don’t know if it was the googling of this amazing program that led me to this exact moment or the fact that I traveled to Spain to Germany to visit my sister often. Whatever the reason, I am glad I made the decision to study abroad here next.

Yes, I am afraid of having to start over yet again but I think I am more afraid of not seeing the world more. When traveling isn’t an option growing up and it suddenly becomes an option you take it in a heartbeat. I did. I’ve studied abroad before but this time it seems different. Just this past semester I was in Spain enjoying the tastiness of a paella embracing the mother of my own culture. I fell in love with Madrid and I am hoping that I fall in love with Freiburg the same way. Germany was but a dream. It’s the country I studied in my Introductory to European History class. It was never the country I would call home for the next five months but alas I am here.

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Keila Garcia

<p>Call me K-E-I-L-A although most people mispronounce my name. I am currently a Government and History major at the University of Texas at Austin. Hook Em! I&rsquo;ve been bitten by the travel bug and am not looking for a cure. As a former small town girl from Brownsville, Texas (I&rsquo;ll forgive you if you&rsquo;ve never heard of it before) I am looking to capture the world through words.</p>

2017 Spring
Home University:
University of Texas - Austin
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