Vienna was not what I was expecting. Although, in hindsight, I don’t know what I was expecting. I knew it would be different and adventurous, but I never expected to come out on the other end of study abroad feeling the way I do now. If there is one piece of advice I could give any Willamette student, it would be to study abroad. Go anywhere. Any program… the experience lends itself to benefitting you in the long run, no matter how bizarre the circumstances. I lived in an apartment with two men, also participating in the same study abroad program with me. I had no idea who they were, and to put it lightly I was less than enthusiastic about being placed in an apartment with them. This week I have talked to both of them on the phone three times. We have plans to see each other at Christmas and next summer, and I can’t express enough how lucky I feel to have been able to become so close to them. The adventures had in our apartment and galavanting around that gorgeous, ancient city were indescribable. I fell in love with every part of Vienna and Austrian culture, and was in no way ready to board my plane in May and come home. I can remember one breezy spring day when the winds were whipping down out of the Wienerwald (Vienna Woods) making the windows slam intermittently against the façade of our pre-war apartment. My roommates and I hiked up to our favorite vantage point above the city, and with a view of almost the entirety of Vienna we spent the afternoon in a meadow with a bottle of wine and nothing but each other and conversation to pass the time. It was one of those afternoons that is perfect simply because of where you are and who you’re with. We reminisced about the weeks that had already passed and dreamed about what might be to come in our short time left in Europe. It was the fastest semester of my life, full of ups and downs, but what I know now is that on the plane back to my home I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by how much better I knew myself, and how I would have given absolutely anything to turn that plane again and stay for another ten years.
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