Monday, May 4, 2009

Reflecting On a Semester in Vienna

Living in Vienna, Austria for a semester is a part of my life that I will never forget. I was able to travel around Europe, learn new languages, experience different cultures, and learn how to be around the same 12 people 24/7 for a semester.

My favorite part about studying abroad was being able to learn about paintings, statues, or historical information on a country and actually be there to really visualize these things. We recently went to Prague, which is the capital of the Czech Republic. Before we left we watched movies and talked about communism, then actually went to a country where this actually existed. We visited a museum on communism and had a tour around the city where major events occured, and actually being able to be there made a major impact on my learning experience. I was able to skype with my mom and tell her everything I learned, such as how we stood on the spot where a teenager actually burned himself to death to make a statement. It is a much better learning experience abroad because you just don't read something out of a book and get tested on it, but you visually see it.

I was able to go to Rome, Venice, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Munich, Paris, Athens, and some Eastern European countries that weren't really planned. Speaking different languages and eating different food was a lot of fun. Traveling with different people is always interesting because someone might want to visit somewhere that I never even thought of going.

I have made many new friends here in Austria that I hope to keep in touch with, even one from England. Everyone has been really nice when we travel or get lost. For example, when we went to Athens for spring break we had to find our apartment. Not speaking any Greek, we took out our map and tried to figure it out, but a couple came up to us immediately and showed us the right way, and even spoke English. People in Europe may say they don't like Americans, but for the most part they are excited to have visitors and show us their culture.

With only a week left, I look back on my entire experience of being here and I feel great about it. I hardly travel when I am in America and to think of how much I traveled here makes me happy. I never thought that the 5 years of French I took, would actually come in handy, where I can actually communicate with people who speak that language. I will miss living here in Vienna, Austria, and I am excited to say that this experience has really helped me mature. I will never forget it!!

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