BY HANNAH CRITES
Summer has ended and all of a sudden I find myself in the middle of a foreign land, terribly far away from what I know. I have heard of plenty other Franciscan students coming to Austria. I heard that it was a transformative semester for them. I just never imagined myself going.
Austria is strange. It’s scary. The Austrians speak a different language and eat different foods. It’s intimidating, especially since I have never been outside of the United States…aside from a beach vacation to Costa Rica two summers ago.
But it’s an adventure. There is a reason that Franciscan calls the Gaming program a “Semester of a Lifetime,” because that’s exactly what it is: a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I feel so blessed to embark on.
Austria. What am I hoping to get out of it?
I want to find my sense of adventure. It’s a new place, a new start in the unfamiliar. I want to take risks. Not risks as in getting into trouble, but risks as in doing what I may be afraid of, such as trying new foods, learn a new language, adjust my attitude about school, and doing something daring.
I want to make new friends and grow closer to the friends I already have. To those I feel particularly hostile toward, I want to grow to love them as my own brothers and sisters.
I can already say after only a week and a half of being here, I have already accomplished those goals and am setting new ones, even though I haven’t even left Austria to explore other countries.
I explored Salzburg without any previous knowledge about the city and found adventure in a castle that was over 600 years old. I took a risk and climbed up a seventy foot cell phone tower just to see the amazing view from the top. I’ve tried a Franciscan famous Gaming “Kabop” and I’m currently craving it like nobody’s business. I jumped into an ice cold creek, something I never thought I’d do even though countless Franciscan students have before me.
I have met so many people I would not have had as likely a chance of meeting at Franciscan. I’m traveling with a group of eight people, most of whom I didn’t know or didn’t know well before coming, who are now on track to becoming lifelong friends.
Even with so many adventures and so many new stories to tell, it’s only just beginning.