1. I would say my biggest expectation coming into the study abroad was to greatly improve on my German skills. Another expectation I had was that I was going to become more confident and outgoing. The last expectation of mine was that I was going to become more comfortable with being independent. I feel that these have all greatly impacted the beginning of my experience abroad. I think the fact of being in a German speaking country makes me want to learn even more and even faster, because its all at my fingertips. I think the idea of becoming more confident and outgoing has had a huge impact as well. Rather than sitting there being on the quieter side, I think I’ve prepared myself to do the opposite and get out of my comfort zone more often then not. Lastly I believe that becoming more comfortable with being independent has already started to change quite a bit. Mostly because of my 2 weeks before Vienna, in London and Paris. I was doing that travelling all alone, this being my first time in Europe as well as my first time travelling alone, I sort of got thrown into it. I think its great, because its already taught me so much and I feel I still have much to learn. Especially with being in a different dynamic now, in a group of 7.
2. I believe that all of my expectations seem very real. One of them has already skyrocketed, that being more comfortable with being independent. As for expecting to greatly improve my German skills, I think that isn’t much of a worry. Being in the German A2.1 class, almost every is new for me. Besides that, trying to use more and more German everyday seems to helping quite a bit. I told Stephen today, that our improvement in German is already noticeable. As for my expectation to become more confident and outgoing, I think that has gone well so far. While I continue to say more in class and continue to not be afraid to be wrong. I think so far its worked well for me.
3. I don’t think any of my expectations are too ambitious or overly optimistic. The only one I could see not going completely as I planned, would be my expectation to become more confident and outgoing. I think it could be possible that at some point I would get stagnant and sort of revert back to my “old ways” if that is how you want to put it. Being a more introverted person than extroverted, I could see that being something that I reframe. But not on purpose, I think it would happen more subconsciously.
4. I think its rather what haven’t experienced than what I have. Since I’ve been in Europe for almost 3 weeks now I felt like I would have already felt some sort of homesickness feeling. But I haven’t so far and that is a bit unexpected. However, it could come any day, you never really know. I think its partially due to the fact of how much of a good time I’ve been having with everyone here. Everyone that I’m here with on this trip feel like such good friends, even though it hasn’t been that long. They feel like my family away from home.
5. The biggest new element to my daily life now is quite obvious, speaking a lot of German every day. I think its amazing that I get the opportunity to spend a month in a German speaking country, which forces me to practice and improve every day. Another new element to my life is using public transportation to get everywhere. In America I’m so used to either walking everywhere or driving everywhere. Here in Vienna, its walking or public transport. I love being able to just hop on the U-Bahn or S-bahn and be anywhere in the city in 15 minutes. Another aspect that is new, is having 100% focus on German all day long. I’m used to having to worry about 4 other classes besides German, its awesome just getting to worry about one and especially because its German.
6. My initial highlight so far was the first time we saw St. Stephen’s Cathedral. I remember getting off the U-Bahn and Isabel said to everyone “just wait till we get to the top of these stairs and just look up to the right”. As soon as we got to the top, my mind was blown, right in front of my eyes was the church. Finally getting to see it after hearing about it for so long was amazing. Seeing all the details everywhere on the church was so fascinating. What made it so special is that we spent so long looking at pictures and talking about wanting to see it in class. Then finally it was right in front of our eyes and sharing that moment with everyone was quite amazing.