We arrived in Austria on Friday around 4:30 in the afternoon local time. Getting here was quite the experience for all of us! Grace traveled separately from the group and was the first to arrive in Munich at about 8:00 a.m. local time (2:00 a.m. in the US). However, as Grace was en route to Detroit for her connecting flight to Munich, the rest of the group learned that there had been some complications with their flight out of Dulles.
Emma reflected on the situation: “So when we were about to check in for our flight, we were told that [it] was canceled. Immediately, I was like ‘Oh my gosh! What’s going on?!” and I was so nervous that we weren’t going to make it to Austria. However, stuff like this happens all the time, so the airline figured it out and got us on another direct flight to Munich which caused us to spend pretty much all day (9 hours) Thursday in the Dulles airport. Because of the delay, we were awake for more than 24 hours by the time we got to Salzburg on Friday evening. Although we were tired and hungry, we were all so excited and immediately were amazed by the magic of the city.”
Kelley used the cancellation and delay as a learning experience: “I think the…flight cancellation at Dulles taught me to be less uptight and to go with the flow more. There was no reason to stress or freak out because the airlines were handling it. It taught me to relax a little and be more flexible. Flying internationally for the first time was definitely an intimidating experience. I hadn’t been on a plane for 7 years before this, and that was only a 4 hour flight to California. All things considered, though, it wasn’t too bad of a flight once we got our departure straightened out. I was expecting that going through security and customs when we got to Munich was going to be the most stressful part of the journey, but it wound up being painless! Being 5’9″ made for a tight squeeze in the economy seats on our flight, but I’ve had plenty of time to stretch my legs since arriving in Austria!”
Grace met up with the group in Munich to connect by bus to Salzburg. She was on her own in the Munich airport for about an hour before she met up with Dr. Kennedy and Maddie (another classmate), all of whom traveled separately. Together, they waited until 2:00 p.m. local time (5-6 hours since they landed) to connect with the larger group.
Because Grace traveled on her own, her experience was a little different: “My seat mate was a 67 year old man from a small town in Michigan. He was 20 years old when he and his best friend decided they wanted to take a backpacking trip in Germany. They wanted to hike the Swiss Alps from Germany to Switzerland. And almost 50 years later, he and his best friend were on a plane traveling to finally carry out their college dreams. For me, this really clicked. I’m 20 years old now, I have my best friends at school and we plan to do lots of adventurous and spontaneous things in this life. And as I’m sitting on a plane to Germany, having light conversation with an expert of the Austria-Germany border and enjoying my first German beer that he so willingly offered to me, I’m thinking to myself ‘Wow, I’m actually doing this! I’m carrying out my dream of studying in Austria.” He told me about his life and all the exploring he’s done. He never let a chance to explore the world and learn more slip through his fingers. He was so confident and wise. I aspire to feel that same confidence and to face challenges in this world without fear of failure.”
Once we arrived in Austria, we were excited to check out our new mountain home for the next month. But we also knew that it was only a matter of time before jet lag got to us, especially given the delays we experienced.
Haley knew jet lag was on the horizon: “Considering that this is my first time outside of the country, my body has been thrown for an unexpected loop. Unfortunately, with our flight complications, we left much later than anticipated. It was difficult to wait in the airport for such a long period of time, but it actually worked out in our favor with regard to sleep. We were able to go to bed at a fairly normal time, 11:00 p.m. on the flight, and we landed around 1:30 p.m. local time. Our bodies, however, felt like it was about 5:30 a.m. I only got about 3-4 hours of sleep on the flight – it was better than nothing, but it still made me feel fatigued. The combination of a delayed flight, not much food, and difficulty sleeping on the flight made the first couple of days exhausting. However, I feel my body starting to get used to the routine we’ve already set for ourselves. The time we’ve spent getting to know our surroundings has been enticing and inspiring, leaving me wanting more of Salzburg regardless of jet lag!”
We look forward to sharing more of our experiences and adventures with you as this next month unfolds. We have already experienced so much in just the two and a half days we’ve been here. Tomorrow is our first day of class with Dr. Patterson and Dr. Carlson. So, until our next post… Tschüss!