During my time abroad I wish to accomplish many things in all area of my life from academics to my personal life. Life abroad is such a unique time to focus on cheating new experiences with new people in a completely new setting. Academically I wanted to understand what it was like to learn and work with students around the world. Professionally, I wanted to get a better understanding of customs and etiquette around the world to make me a more professional person. Finally, personally, I wanted to see myself transform with the changing environment around me.
Learning in a classroom with students from around the world, who all speak different languages and come from different universities with different practices has been incredibly interesting. It has taught me to be understanding, we all were taught to do things differently as well as learning a lot from one another. It was cool helping my classmates with their English grammar in group work and it was also really cool having them show me the different ways different countries do things.
Professionally, I knew I wouldn’t necessarily have that much room to develop, since I am not working here or doing any networking, but I still learned a lot. I learned a lot about other countries etiquette. My Austrian friend taught me about how in Austria, the relationship between a boss and an employee isn’t quite as professional and more friendly than it is in the US. It isn’t uncommon to spend the night out on the town with your boss and fellow employees, which I think is often viewed as off limits in the US.
Spending time in a different place can always change how you see the world. I came to Vienna wanting to make myself more worldly. I wanted to meet people from other places and learn more about the places they come from. I had no idea how much I missed in my world history classes in high school in the United States. I learned about how the Croatia was affected by the Bosnian war and how Christmas is celebrated in the Netherlands, where Santa isn’t a jolly old man, but instead a cranky guy who will kidnap you and bring you to Spain if you have been bad.
There has been so much to learn and so many opportunities to grow. I’ll leave Vienna a more well-rounded, worldly, smarter person because of the experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met.