As I’ve got a long nine months before I head to Salzburg, I figured I’d write about some worries or expectations for Salzburg. I figured this would be interesting to look back on after study abroad and see if I met my expectations. I’ve only been out of the United States once that I can actually remember, in this past summer, where I went to Europe for 21 days with my family. It was a fantastic experience and I didn’t expect to love travelling as much as I did until I took this trip; it really opened my eyes to new cultures, new places, and meeting travellers, which I had never been exposed to.
In the long 9 months before I leave, I’ve got quite a bit on my plate in preparation for the trip, but I’m unbelievably excited. I was beyond nervous when the applications were waiting to be accepted or denied, but now that I’m in, I have a lot of stuff that needs to be sorted out before I leave. That being said, I feel like it’s not as stressful as, for example, college applications or other things? Maybe it’s because it’s something I’m so passionate about, so it just doesn’t feel like it’s a chore or something, I feel good about making progress on the checklist because I know that it means I’m one step closer to being able to live abroad for a year.
So what am I looking forward to while abroad?
Well a lot, frankly. I’d never taken German prior to coming to University of Portland, so I’m hoping to improve my speaking and conversation in German (and learning Austrian German rather than solely high German). Maybe I’ll even include bits of the language I learn/new vocabulary in some of these posts, who knows. I’m looking forward to diving deeper into the cultures I so briefly experienced in my past trip, and learning more about Austrian culture while abroad. I’m looking forward to some good music (Salzburg is the home of Mozart), experiencing more history, and hopefully making connections with locals in the places I travel. I’d like to bond more with the people I’m travelling with, as well. My German 105/207 class, out of all of the classes I’ve ever had, seems to be the easiest to bond with. I genuinely feel like they’re almost like a little “German student family” to me. The size of the class also makes it really beneficial to making good friends and learning the language much easier. I’m super pumped to be able to travel with the people from my German class who are going to Salzburg, and it eases my nerves to know that I’ll already have a small group to interact with even from the start. That being said, I’d also like to get to know the other people on the program that I’ve not necessarily interacted with much or at all. All of the people I’ve met at UP have turned out to be great people so making friends doesn’t worry me because I’m sure I’ll enjoy the time spent with them. Whether with my German class, the other students I meet that are travelling with us, or even Austrian locals, I’d like to be able to go to as many places as possible. Some past students who did the Salzburg program managed to visit 19 countries, and I’d like to get around that mark or, if possible, more. I want to be able to make professional connections in at least some of the places I visit, so if I end up pursuing a career in international relations or foreign policy, I’ll have contacts.
I’m really looking forward to this trip, and the 9 months between the time of writing this and the time of leaving cannot come soon enough.