I’m officially one week from leaving for my study abroad adventure in Vienna, Austria. ONE. WEEK. I would say that I’m mentally prepared, but I’m definitely not physically prepared. I picked up some Euros today, so I’ll have some money, but I have not packed the first thing other than that! I’m a last minute packer, so I’ll probably be finishing up my packing at about midnight the night before my flight leaves. But, like I said, I’m mentally ready for this new adventure with new people, a new culture, and new experiences.
I got my room assignment about a week ago and have been in touch with my roommates. We are already planning some trips around Vienna, including a Viennese Ball and a street festival in June! I can’t wait to meet them and spend six weeks with them in Vienna! I have also talked to a few other people from the program and everyone has been friendly and I think I will have a great group to spend my time overseas with.
While in Vienna, I am taking two classes. A German class is required for everyone in the program, so I will be taking novice level German. I think that is one thing I am most nervous about for this study abroad experience—I don’t speak the native language. I have heard that most people speak English there, so I’m sure I’ll be fine, and hopefully the German class will teach me some useful phrases for everyday life. The second class I am taking is Health Psychology. One thing I am really excited about for this class is that we get to take field trips all over the city. Vienna is home to the Narrenturm, which is the oldest mental health hospital in continental Europe, built in the late 1700s! Vienna is also home to the Sigmund Freud Museum, the Federal Museum of the Blind, and many other amazing places that I’ll get the opportunity to visit.
Of course there are some things I am nervous about. Like I already said, I don’t speak German, so that is making me nervous. I also have never flown out of the country, so doing it alone will be an experience. I am the only one from my school going to Vienna, so I will be with a large group of strangers. On the bright side, though, most of the people going are the only ones from their schools, so we are all in the same boat. And of course, the hardest part of it all will be being away from my family for six weeks with limited resources to contact them. When I am away at college normally, I can text my parents or brothers if I need anything or if I just want to say hi, but I won’t be able to do that while I’m abroad. I’ll be able to Facebook message and FaceTime them, but only when I am in a space with Wi-Fi. I’m sure after being there for a short time I will adapt and feel okay about everything, but until I get there, I won’t know what I’m in for.
The thing I am probably most excited about is that when I was in high school, we had a group of foreign exchange students, one of which was from Vienna. She lived across the street from me when she was in the United States, and now she has kindly offered to pick me up from the airport! I can’t wait to see her and catch up, plus she will be a familiar face if I start to feel homesick.
I can’t put into exact words how excited I am to head out, experience a new culture, meet new people, and learn from class and from exploring! I will be blogging while I’m gone, so I hope that you’ll follow my journey and read about my adventures!