It’s never easy adjusting to a new environment. It wasn’t easy for me to adjust living somewhere else in the same country so imagine my shock when I was learning to adjust to living in a whole new country that did not speak the same language as me. It takes time to adjust and it’s not something you can just rush into and even if you could, you shouldn’t. Taking the time you need to get to know your surroundings and new living environment is what can really make or break your experience while being abroad. I’ll admit, it was very difficult for me to go from a country that speaks primarily English to a country that speaks mostly German. I got confused with what all of the signs meant, what the people were talking about, how to answer someone if they tried to talk to me. I didn’t know and to be honest, I still don’t know. One thing I wish I had done before making my way to Austria was taking learning some German more seriously because it definitely would have made my life a whole lot easier!
When I first arrived in Salzburg, I was lucky to have my mom drop me off because there was no way I felt confident to navigate things on my own just yet so, when we arrived we walked around my new home for the next few months and found my living quarters and the study center where all of my classes would be taking place everyday, found my grocery store and some good restaurants to go to. The reason I was doing this was because for me, structure is very important and I like to know where things are before I do them on my own. I learned how to take the bus, how to know where and when to get on and off the bus (a local did end up having to help us out on the exiting part of the bus) and overall just how to live like the locals.
Though the process of adjusting definitely got much easier when my mom left to go back to the States and I needed to get to my living quarters to get my room. After doing so I met up with some of the students that were in my group (some had not yet arrived) and we went on a city tour with one of the programs staff. From there, those who were all on the tour together all managed to get to know each other and after the tour we all went out to dinner together and just learn more about each other and that was when I really knew that I was going to be okay and that things could really only get better from then!