Sunday, January 22, 2012

My Visa is in!

     To those of you who have been following my blog on tumblr, I hope you made this transition easily. I've decided that blogger/blogspot is a much more appropriate site for a text blog. To those of you who just discovered this blog, welcome! I hope I'm not too boring.

      My trip is only 19 days away, and I am getting to the point where I am kind of nervous. My Visa came in, and that is essentially the last thing that needed to be done other than actually hop on a plane and get over there. I have to get my classes approved for academic credit, but I cannot truly do that until I get to sign up for my classes. The issue is that I cannot sign up for classes until I am completing orientation at JKU. So it looks like for now all I can really do is make a packing list and try and have my course descriptions available for approval.

      Right now I am fortunate enough to be in Chattanooga visiting friends. I was in Knoxville Friday and Saturday as well, and I am so glad I get to see some of my friends and Family before I head out. It is crazy to think that in 18 days I will be all packed up, going to bed for the last time in a long time at home. I'll miss all of that.

The Final School Application Has Been Sent!

       Those of you that have been following this know that I have completed what seems like endless amounts of paperwork for this trip.  I sent my first piece of international mail the monday before Thanksgiving, and that happened to be a rather important piece of paperwork.That piece of mail was my official application to JKU, where I listed housing preferences, future possible courses, and contact information. The 3 sheets of paper that make up the application I sent in are absolutely key, because they give the school all of the information they need to get me my official acceptance letter.
       While this trip is 98% going to happen, I need that official letter to apply for my visa. Once I get my visa, the trip is officially, for sure, 100% going to occur. I have been told that should come in the mail in mid-December. This means that at the turn of the year, almost all details surround my trip will have been determined. As a stressed out girl who is currently frazzled by finals, this makes me so excited!
       I will be sure to let everyone know when that letter comes in, and then when I officially get my visa, but until now I will just breathe easy at the though that it is almost all taken care of.
Sending up prayers that it all comes through.
67 Days Left,
Sarah

The Airline Tickets Have Been Purchased!

[Originally posted 11/3/11]



EEEEK!
       We’ve booked my flights. I officially leave  Friday, February 10th at 12:05 PM from BNA (That’s Nashville, for those of you who aren’t form the area or don’t fly often.) I will fly in to Newark, NJ. I will have a three hour layover, and then jump on a Boeing 744 to Frankfurt Germany. From Frankfurt I will have a one hour flight over to Linz.
       This puts me arriving before noon Saturday morning in Linz. I cannot actually check into the dorm where I will be living until Sunday. I have planned on arriving a day early so that I can sleep off my jet lag, & I will just stay at a hotel Saturday night. I suspect that Sunday will just consist of checking in with the student director at JKU and getting moved in to where I will be living.  Then on Monday morning I will begin orientation, German classes, and whatever else they have prepared for all of the other students.
    I finish my semester on June 30th, but I will not be back until July 16th. I plan on using those two weeks to travel around to the places I couldn’t get to with weekend trips. Lucky for me I have 6 months to plan that out because right now I have no clue where I want to be. I do think its a shame that I will be missing the Olympics in London though, especially since I would already be so close (at least in comparison to being here in the states.) That occurs July 27th- August 12th.
Anyways, I suppose that is all of the updating I have to do for now. So in the mean time, Auf Wiedersehen!!

How This Journey Got Started


     So, here we go with post number one. Kind of.
 
     I love the states and all, but I have always wanted to study abroad. I have especially been pursuing it since January of this year, as I was told I would need to start pursuing this endeavour a year in advance.

     As an amateur photographer, I wanted to make sure that wherever I ended up was ridiculous amounts of gorgeous. I first looked at New Zealand. I mean let’s get real for a second… that’s where Lord of the Rings was filmed. Infinite amounts of God showing off right there. Ultimately, I just couldn’t handle that financially. As a result, I began looking into the UK. My first choice was in Edinburgh, Scotland; another incredibly gorgeous option. After focusing for 6+ months on Scotland and the UK as a whole, I found out that I got accepted, but not to the program I could afford. I was disappointed at first, but alas, there was hope!

      There was an exchange opening in the Austrian/German program, and I had three choices. I had to make the decision to 1)defer my placement in the UK and hope that I could make it into the program I wanted during the fall semester 2) Suck it up and pay a large amount of money to go to Edinburgh, Scotland this spring like I had originally planned, or 3) I could basically scrap the past six months of preparation and apply to a school in Hannover, Germany or Linz, Austria. As is the case for most people, money and time are essential resources. Consequently, I went with the option that balanced the two of those the best.

      In 36 hours, I had typed up a new application, and had it sent to Johannes Kepler Universit├Ąt in Linz. Approximately ten days later (perhaps the longest ten days of my life, or so it seems) I got a call from our Study Abroad director here at school. I GOT IN! I literally jumped up and down like a crazy woman for fifteen minutes straight. I was so excited just to know that I would be going somewhere. Anywhere at all.

      As a general rule, I like to plan things out. In just a matter of days, I had undone the majority of the work I had done for the past six months. No longer was I going to live in a chilly, rainy, and green English speaking country. I was going to have to learn German. What? I know Danke Schoen… and Ferris Bueler is the only one I have to thank for that. I would be using Euro as currency rather than the British pound. I needed to change the cities on my weather app so that it no longer brought up Edinburgh, but Linz instead (you know… thats a pretty big deal.)

     “Crap! What did I get myself into!” I found myself thinking. And then it hit me, I got myself into something that will be really great for me. I am going to learn a new language. I will get to travel around Europe. I will get to study with students from Georgia, Chicago, Nebraska, Canada, Mexico, France, and other locations. How cool is that?

     Am I nervous about this? Absolutely. But I am excited even more-so. This will really help me learn, and expand the size of the little box I find myself staying in sometimes. As it stands, I have 103 days until I leave. I don’t expect myself to be fully ready by the time February 10th comes around, but I know for a fact I will be the most excited I’ve ever been about not knowing what my future holds.

      Here is to hoping I can be organized and calm about all of this, and that I have the time of my life.
[Originally posted October 31, 2011]