Most students returning from Austria will tell you similar things:
“It was a great semester.”
“It feels so weird being back.”
“I’m still processing.”
It was no different for me. As soon as I was home and waking up in my bed, the whole experience felt like a dream. Had I even left?
I think that’s one of the biggest struggles of the semester, the days, weeks, and months after. In Austria, you grow so much, develop new habits, and raise your sights. But once you return to everyday life, the life you had been so used to living, it’s hard to keep up with “the new you.”
The Austria experience is so different that it’s easy to keep Austria in Austria. What I mean by that is that it’s easy to keep the lessons I’ve learned, the struggles I’ve overcome, and even the friendships I’ve formed, fettered to a time and place.
Consequently, this spring semester will just as much a challenge as last fall was. But this semester, it won’t be reading time tables in German, or figuring out what Croatian road to take next. This semester, I’ll be challenged to transplant “the new me,” to keep up with good habits, and not let Austria stay in Austria.
Gruß Gott! My name is Marianna Schmiesing, and I am a junior English major at Franciscan. I was born and raised in Steubenville, Ohio, just a few blocks from the University, and it has always felt like home to me. This semester, I am living, working, eating, sleeping, praying, studying, and traveling all across Europe, making base camp in Gaming, Austria, at the Kartause Maria Thronus Iesu, the center of Franciscan’s study abroad program.
In addition to reading and writing, I am a member of Daughters of Zion household and love playing ultimate frisbee. After graduation, I plan to continue writing creatively, hopefully finishing a book or two (or ten), and winning the Pulitzer Prize.