Abroad Blues and Stress

Cloudy Days

There is a lot to love about being abroad and living a whole new life in another country. However, that does not mean there aren’t negatives. I am currently in the last few weeks of my program before I am to return to the U.S. and I have learned a lot. There are plenty of times where I got really homesick and needed to call my mom and have her send pictures of both herself and my dog. I will say that there is no real way to prepare yourself for the homesickness you feel when abroad because it can and will hit whenever and wherever. When those moments hit, it is important to put your mind on something else. For example, this current week there are a bunch of tests and quizzes going on for my classes and that is making me miss home quite a bit because normally whenever I have a stressful test or something I would go home for a bit and spend some time with my mom and dog. However, now that I cannot rely on them to help me, I am needing to learn how to deal with my stress in other ways. One way is that the program that I am in has scheduled things for us to do and things to go. I will get into this program more in another post but last night, there was a musical performance of The Sound of Music. This musical was based on the movie that was based off the real life events of the family that occured here in Austria. I decided to go to this performance even though it was right in the middle two of my bigger tests but I decided that taking a break would be for the best and when would I see this life performance again? I am very glad that I went because it did give me a break from studying. One thing that I have learned while being abroad is that while working hard is important, it’s not the only thing in life and that you just have to enjoy the time you have. I can’t believe that I only have four weeks left here in Austria before I will be making my way back to Denver.

It is completely normal to have moments of sadness and anxiety while being abroad I have had those moments and I know that my friends have had those moments as well. Stress plays a part in that aspect as well and yes it is normal but no it’s not normal for those feelings to take over your life. I think this image portrays what I am trying to say perfectly. There are grey skies covering the sky but down below, where you are there is still beauty to be seen and those grey rainy clouds shouldn’t be what you focus on. Just try to stay in the moment because in the end, it will all be worth it if you are truly able to engage in your life abroad and live with the locals and with your friends.

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Classes

It’s very interesting to me to see how my view of classes and school has changed during my time here in Salzburg. From the topics being learned in class, to the teachers, to the work, to grades. Things are just very different here. We finished midterms about two weeks ago and I can definitely tell the difference between the United States and Salzburg. After the midterms there were quite a few people who did not feel so confident on how they did on their tests and I will admit I felt that way for certain classes. We got our grades back and not everyone was happy with what they got but what really interested me was the response from our teachers (we don’t call them professor). Overall they were very understanding and very sympathetic with those who were not very happy with their scores on their tests. They gave people the opportunity to talk to them in private instead of in front of everyone which I can totally understand could be very stressful and embarrassing. They did not understand why we were so disappointed with our grades because to them, anything over a D was fantastic. I personally did not feel any shame or pressure coming from them because they very clearly wanted what was best for us and they did not want us beating ourselves up over the test grades. Now, I am definitely not saying that the professors back in the States do pressure or put shame on us for our grades but there is definitely something different with the teachers approach to grades here in Salzburg.

Class wise the classes I am taking and the amount of work that needs to be done per class is pretty easy. The content within the classes that I am taking are very interesting and fun. The homework is very minimal (depending on what classes you take) the most homework that I have for a class is just for my German class. The classes that I am taking include: Elementary German, World War 2 and Central Europe, Music in the Age of Mozart, and Art and Architecture. I’ll admit that none of these classes go towards my major or minor back at DU but I’m studying abroad I have to take fun classes that I won’t get the experience of taking back in the States. If you were to ask me if I have any regrets of taking a class then I would have to say German because as someone who has taken years and years of Spanish, learning German was quite difficult. But, I am in a primarily German speaking country so why not? A favorite class? That would be difficult. I really enjoy the WW2 class because as Austria did play a role in the war it’s interesting to listen to an Austrian explain how the war went down and learn about it from a different countries perspective. We went on a field trip to a concentration camp last week and while it was a very emotional experience, it was also something I will never regret going to. My music class is definitely more on the fun side of things as we spend a lot of time listening to music and learning about the different types of music made by Mozart and by those in his era. The Art and Architecture class is also very interesting as I am learning about the many different types of buildings made in the Renaissance and Baroque periods. While these classes will end up going to my electives and I will have to make up my major and minor requirements when I get back, I am studying abroad to have a different experience in school and in life. I did come here for classes but why not have some fun with them?

Overall, my experience with classes have been positive so far. My teachers are all very nice and understanding and the workload definitely causes a lot less stress… something that I will not be ready for when I return to America. The program is now more than halfway done and I am counting down the days that I have left before I have to return! While I do love it here in Austria I do miss my home within the States a lot and am slowly becoming more and more ready to return as do some of the others here. I have gotten used to living here but I do miss things about the States that I do not have here… such as my family and my dog. All I am hearing these days are how people are missing their pets. Thank you for reading my post!

-Anna

Class