I am currently writing this in a little coffee shop back in Indiana, and just three short days ago, I had to say goodbye to Vienna. I was obviously excited to get home and see my family, but I also already miss the city I called home for the past six weeks.
For our last German assignment before the final we were asked to write a short paragraph or poem about what Vienna is to each of us. I believe it is impossible to sum up everything in just a few lines, but I think I did the best I could and wanted to share:
Wien ist fur mich...endlose Erkundung, taglich Lernen, Schnitzel Essen, Spritzer Trinken, immer Entdecken, frei Leben...ein Ort ich kann fur immer meine zu Hause einrufen.
Vienna is to me...endless exploring, daily learning, schnitzel eating, spritzer drinking, always discovering, freely living...a place I can forever call my home.
Just saying those things doesn't do Vienna justice. These past six weeks have been the adventure of a lifetime. I've made friends, eaten amazing food, gotten to travel through Europe, learned how to get places on my own, and how to be my own person in a country where literally no one knows me. Having this opportunity has opened my eyes to a world that I hope everyone gets a chance to discover. I always knew the world was out there, but actually being there is a whole new experience.
Being back for such a short amount of time, I've been asked many times what my favorite part was. I change my answer every time. I loved the people, I loved the food, I loved the churches and architecture, I loved all of it.
I think there were a few takeaways that I brought back with me to the United States. First, don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. You may have heard that saying that "life begins at the end of your comfort zone." I can definitely attest to that. It's easy to say no when things seem scary, but it's worth it to say yes. Next, immerse yourself in the culture of wherever you are. I had to take a German class, so I was already learning the language. Of course I did some touristy things, but I also tried to see Vienna through the eyes of a local. And last but certainly not least, if given the opportunity to go out and see the world, whether it be study abroad like I did, or any other way, do it. Don't worry about how much it will cost. Don't worry about being away from work or family. Those things will be there when you get back. The knowledge, culture, and experience taken away from studying abroad are worth so much more than the time away and the money spent and I would do it all over again if given the opportunity.
I would like to thank IES Abroad and Indiana University for giving me not only the amazing opportunity to not only study abroad, but also to share my experience through blogging. This is an experience that I will cherish and remember for the rest of my life.