A few days ago as my parents and I drove to the Des Moines Airport, I had a thought that was both startling and happy. This is real. I’m actually leaving for my study abroad. I have been planning and thinking about this trip for the last five months. It’s finally here, and I’m done explaining, “I’m actually going abroad for the fall semester in Salzburg, Austria. Yes, I’ll be there until December. Yes, I’m very excited! No, I’ll be in Austria, not Australia…”
But why did I come? What made me pack my bags and leave the US for the next four and a half months? There are many reasons, but I’ve come to the following conclusion; when else in my life will it be this easy to leave my home to live in a foreign country for four months? Being a college student means that I have few obligations to keep me in Iowa. Studying abroad is simply an opportunity I would be disappointed to miss. This past summer a few people told me that they regretted not studying abroad in college. Since all I’ve heard are great things about this opportunity, studying abroad is something I think I would have regretted not trying.
Traveling is also something I’ve always enjoyed, and a study abroad is the perfect time to genuinely explore a new place. New cities, countries, and cultures are fascinating, and there is only so much I can learn from reading about these new places. Living in Salzburg will immerse me in Austria’s culture. As a sociology major, living for a semester in foreign country may teach me more than any sociology class can. I will learn so much from the people I meet, my new professors, and the many experiences that lie ahead.
Finally, Austria is a German-speaking country, and this is one of main reasons I specifically chose Salzburg. German is the only other language I can speak, and I learned to speak it because my Mother is from Germany. My extended family on her side all live in and around Rosenheim, a city in the Southeastern corner of Bavaria. My family and I have visited our relatives several times, but this semester I will get to see my cousins, uncles, aunts, and Oma (Grandma) more often than once every two or three years. I’ll also get to work on my German because I’ll actually need it!
The semester starts on September 5th, but I arrived two weeks early to spend time with my relatives before I go to Salzburg. I’m staying in Mühlstätt, the small town that my Oma, two uncles, three cousins, aunt live in. This weekend my uncles and I took a test drive through the countryside in my uncle Christoph’s newly repaired VW Käfer.
I’ve started this blog to share something interesting from my life in Salzburg each week for the next eighteen weeks. I would like to be a Social Media Intern for the ISU study abroad office because it would drive me to be more creative. I have no past experience with blogging, but I’m reliable and hard-working. The ability to tell stories, whether it be through writing, photographs, videos, or any other means, is an important skill to develop, and blogging throughout my semester abroad will be a great way to improve my story telling ability. I hope these stories entertain my friends and family and that they motivate other students to one day go on their own semester abroad.