I took really only two criteria into consideration when I decided to come to Georgetown: the availability of a German major and the study abroad opportunities. Back in high school, I came very close to just going to a German university for my entire undergraduate education. I have been looking forward to studying abroad since I learned it was a possibility my freshman year of high school.
So now that the time has come and I leave for Vienna in two days, here’s how I have spent the last month at home preparing:
- Watched nine seasons of The Office on Netflix
- Worked 100 hours at American Girl Nashville
- Got my ears pierced again
- Bought new shoes
- Finished the last 100 pages of Hillary Clinton’s What Happened
- Started listening to the New York Times Podcast, “The Daily”
- Watched three different movies in theaters
- Wondered if I could still access the NYT podcast from Vienna
Here’s how I have not prepared over the course of the last month at home:
- Figuring out what to do about credit cards and finances
- Figuring out what to do with my cell phone plan
- Understanding the neighborhood I will be living in
- Finding out any details about my daily life in Vienna
- Speaking, reading, or writing German
At the very least, in the last month, my 16-year-old sister learned that Vienna is a city in Austria rather than Italy.
So everything seems very new and unknown and exciting, even though I have had brief “study abroad” summer trips in the past — two to Wiesbaden, Germany, in high school, and three weeks studying art history at Georgetown’s Villa Le Balze in Florence. This time, I’ll be abroad for five months, which is pretty intimidating.
I am also the only Hoya studying at the University of Vienna this spring. I have heard Europeans are amused by southern accents, and as a native Tennessean I am happy to play up an accent that I don’t actually have in order to make friends.
In the remaining 24-48 hours: Will I pack for my five months in Austria? Will all my clothes fit in my two allotted suitcases? Will I survive a six hour time zone jump? Will my podcasts all be available? Will I be able to use money or make phone calls? Will I remember how to speak German? Will my over-exaggerated southern charm and hospitality be enough to make friends? Stay tuned.