Austria Day 15

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

   Today was our last day in Austria. After two fun-filled weeks of learning and exploration, we have made our way back to the United States. I came home to a wonderful welcome from my family. They had baked me a little chocolate cake, put up balloons and streamers, made a slide show out of all the pictures I’ve been posting, and had the Sound of Music soundtrack playing when I walked through the door. It was the best way I could come home. We had a great evening looking at pictures, eating cake, and talking about my trip. I love my family so much! I’m so fortunate to have them.

   Every time I visit Europe it is a unique experience. I did not know what to expect before I came on this trip. For one this trip was offered through the art department which is not my area of study. Secondly, there were only one two other people out of the entire group that I was already acquainted with although I did not know there very well. Thirdly, other than having brief meetings with them about the trip, I did not know the instructors. So this was a completely different world for me, but I was very excited about that and I embraced it. I had the opportunity to meet new instructors who I normally would not have, I had the opportunity to make new friends with students in another department who I normally probably would have never met, and I had the opportunity to be deeply exposed to the world of art. It has been a great experience.

   I have found that I have taken an interest in art as well as a stronger interest in history. Being exposed to new things and new people did not just broaden my horizons and my perspective, it broadened my interests and my sense of adventure. Half of the time I when we were at museums and such, I would be looking at the art of someone I had never heard of, but I appreciate the new knowledge I have gained. I also appreciate the new appreciation I have. Anytime we would visit a historical or monumental structure, while I was snapping pictures with my camera, all the other art students on the trip were sketching in their sketch books. They look at the world differently than I do, everything is collection of shapes and colors and spaces that formulate beautiful art. While I would look at a piece of art and think it was just something that someone scribbled on some paper, they would elaborate on the strenuous details of the pencil strokes that made it such a complex work. Cases like that challenged me to look at things differently and see the beauty in them. I would not have done that before. So my mind has been stretched and I’m learning to see things from a different angle.  I really enjoy hanging around people that are in a different field than I am; it’s refreshing, it’s fun, and it helps to keep me outside the box.  

   I had a great opportunity to interact with a native family from Austria and they were extremely hospitable. I love meeting people from other cultures and seeing how they do things differently or the same as we do. I am learning that just as much as we are different we are also alike in so many ways. I’m also learning so many things about myself, especially things that I need to improve upon. I’ve had so much fun on this trip, I’ve met some awesome people, and I’ve learned more than I can summarize in a few paragraphs. I just think traveling is so great. I am so fortunate because in a little less than a year I have made three trips to Europe! Visiting new places does not quench my thirst for adventure it drenches it. So the more I explore the more I want to. That means this is only the beginning, I’m just getting warmed up! Eventually I would like to visit some other continents such as Asia and Africa. I know I would really be in for an adventure by visiting places that are not as westernized. My ultimate travel goal in life is to visit all seven continents; that would be the coolest thing ever. So two down, five more to go!