I am now officially halfway through my Study Abroad in Vienna. It has been such an amazing experience, but also a huge growing process for me. In the weeks leading up to the trip I was not nervous at all; only excited that I had the opportunity to leave home and do something so adventurous. All of my travel plans went perfectly and I safely arrived at Hostel4 on June 2nd; home for the next month. I felt on top of the world that I made it to a foreign country all on my own without missing my flights or losing my luggage, but then I was hit with my first curve-ball. My roommate at the hostel was not an NC State student, but rather a student from Turkey. I immediately panicked; would she be nice? Did she speak English? Would be totally left out of the group of State students? I did everything could to try to get out of rooming with this girl, but I did not win. When I got to my room she was extremely welcoming and while the room was obviously not a 5-star hotel, it seemed like one compared to my freshman dorm from the past year. Settling down from my first panic and settling into my room, I was attacked for the first time with the realization that I was in a foreign country where I did not know the language or a single person. I once again felt very unsettled and 4 weeks seemed extremely daunting. Throughout the rest of the day the other 9 people of my study abroad group arrived at the hostel. That evening we all went to dinner together and finally were able to get to know each other.
That night a combination of jet-lag and nerves kept me up for several hours thinking. I realized that similar to the beginning of freshman year of college this trip would be a myriad of new experiences and possibilities. In such an overwhelming situation, one must keep track of who you are and how you want to incorporate these new people and experiences in to your persona. We naturally all want a sense of safety and control. This is something that we automatically have with our families at home, but we must find and create it in strange situations such as college, study abroad, or in general any new experience in life. Knowing who you are, who you want the world to perceive you as, and what your goals are creates your own sense of internal security and control. If you have a firm grasp on how you want to live your life, then you can control what you chose to do with more confidence and as a result have a greater sense of security. The initial parts of study abroad are a matter of creating that sense of personal security and control in your life when everything seems overwhelming and unsafe. It’s crucial to have a sense of personal security not just the securities that are easily handed to you by virtue of your family or roommates in your dorm. Being able to comfortably create a sense of personal security is an invaluable part of growing up and being independent and was a major part of my first weekend Vienna.
Read more about Allison’s Vienna adventures here: