I left for Austria at a very poignant time in my life. The journey towards making my decision to go was spontaneous and completely off the cusp. I was wrapping up the end of a difficult school year. My original plans to study abroad in London had completely fallen through. Everything appeared to be falling apart. Until, the first people I had ever met at the Mount reached out to me and encouraged me to go to Austria. From then, everything fell perfectly in place.
I decided within the last week of the deadline to place my deposit, and I can now say with certainty it was the best decision I had ever made.
To cut right to the chase, this trip was one of a lifetime, and I can say proudly that I grew in so many different aspects of my life. The whole process of studying abroad, traveling outside of the country, adapting to a new culture, and learning from new surroundings taught me to trust in what life has coming for me and enjoy the moment of each day.
While we would have days that were planned, you still never knew what was in store. Whether we were going to Vienna or walking to the market, there was always a new memory, a new lesson, and a new experience.
This constant sense of newness kept the trip fresh and exciting, always leaving the group on the edge of their seats. It was a blessing to be able to do all of this with a fun group of peers, while also have time to grow individually.
It was pleasant to spend days with the group and feed off of one another’s joy. I also, however, thoroughly enjoyed the days when I was able to wander on my own. I stepped out of my comfort zone, with things both big and small, and pushed myself to do things I would never expect. Whether it was navigating the metro in Vienna alone or communicating with an individual who spoke little English, it was all a learning experience.
Being back in the States now, I have already noticed a few things: 1) how much more confident I approach foreign situations; 2) how much I cherish the smaller things in life; 3) how much I appreciate diversity and cultural traditions; and lastly, how much I miss Salzburg!
My biggest takeaway from this trip is how wonderful it felt to call that place a home. It was only a month long trip which ended up being the perfect amount of time. It surpassed the time of being labeled just a tourist and enabled us to truly leave our hearts there. However, I understood that I still wasn’t a resident – I was in a culture new to me and I respected it immensely.
I have probably used the phrase more than I should, but I simply fell in love with the city. The Old Town left me astounded each time I walked through, the mountain views were breathtaking each time you took a glance, and the people were as friendly as could be and made me felt like I belonged.
I truly left my heart there, and I will forever be grateful to Salzburg for allowing me to do so. Even though I couldn’t see what was ahead going into the trip, it all fell into place without flaw.
Thank you all for following me, Kelley, Emma, and Grace along on this journey. We were all excited from the very start and the blog only amped us up – the support we received from family, friends, and Mount faculty/staff was incredible, and the blog wouldn’t be the blog without everyone involved. Thank you!
Don’t forget to follow Emma and others while they take over Prague this fall!
Some of my favorite moments in a nutshell…
- Me, Kelley, Emma, and Emily had our first sit down meal in Old Town..
- My first legal drink on the flight to Munich – white wine!
- My first real stroll through Old Town…
- Group dinners at the Augustiner and Stiegl!
- Berchtesgaden & Konigssee: cobblestone streets, medieval architecture, rolling hills, lake day!
- Visiting Nonnberg Abbey and hearing the nuns sing vespers!
- Café dates with Grace at Café Bazar!
- The dreamland and fairytale place of Hallstatt…
- Untersberg was special to the group – our trip in the cable car and views overlooking the city were unforgettable!
- Vienna waits for you! Billy Joel said it best. St.Peter’s church, the Ferris wheel, the museums, palace tours…
- The hills are alive with the sound of music! We visited some well-known spots: the gazebo, the horse pond, do-re-mi steps, etc.
- Rodelbahn. So much fun…
- Our dinner at the Augustiner on our last night – we all went around and reflected on the trip one by one. Tears were shed, laughs erupted, smiles were had, and hugs were shared.
- Our flight back on AirFrance and seeing my beautiful family and friends at last.