I couldn’t believe it.
It was my last week at the International Center for New Media. After four days in Munich, five weeks of classes at Salzburg College and six weeks of internship – my chapter abroad in Europe was over.
I remember being homesick the first two to three weeks, now I’m missing Salzburg like a child misses his or her blanket. I left work early Friday around 1 p.m. to go home and pack. I gave each of my coworkers a small parting gift and a personalized letter. I gave them a brief speech about life and to “smile and the world will smile back at you.”
My roommate and I had our last dinner, but he ended up getting sick, so host mom packed his Schnitzel for him. Five of us took the train from Salzburg to Munich and then three of them had a 6 a.m. flight, my roommate had a 10 a.m. one destined to Tampa. I was the last to leave at 11:50 a.m.
It didn’t really hit me that I was leaving Salzburg until I was in my second flight, from Toronto to Fort Lauderdale. I couldn’t help but ache and tear up.
I arrived in Fort Lauderdale around 7:30 p.m. Saturday and greeted my parents with big hugs and thanked them. I haven’t seen them in three months after all.
I’m still back to no Internet at home like my Salzburg home. I miss my host mom – she is like my mother because she would give me money whenever I was traveling on the weekends. She’s also a big worrywart. My host mom is extremely kind, understanding and a wonderful listener. I talked to her the most out of everybody else in Salzburg.
I miss my internship at the ICNM. Although the tasks were menial, I made it fun and exciting. I was lively in the Skype calls hung out with some of my coworkers after work. They gave me a glimpse of what the Austrian workforce is like.
The ICNM introduced me to an industry I didn’t know about before. It’s amazing to know that there is a competition and an award given to websites and mobile applications for the smartphone.
Lastly, I miss Salzburg. It’s my third home, after Pompano Beach and Gainesville. I’ve lived in it for a considerable amount of time, and it’s made me comfortable and happy. One of the safest cities in the world; the people are beautiful and the culture is vivid. It’s the size of Gainesville, so most attractions and places are within walking distance. I won’t miss the fact that so many people smoke, though. There are cigarette butts everywhere.
Life can be ironic. In the beginning of the program, I was complaining about the weather, how everything seemed “different” and about getting lost in a new town. It takes time to adjust.
We experienced almost all of it – hail on the first day, rain, sunshine, Sahara-like heat, flooding – Salzburg is unpredictable like Florida. Austrian cuisine isn’t that different. My host mom was able to make salads, bake pizzas and cook rice, pork and steak at times. I definitely love the different mentality from the U.S. There are places where we can get free water but not in the shape of a fountain. It’s hard to get lost in Salzburg because of the small size.In the end, I’m extremely thankful to have been gone on a program like this. I was able to take classes, intern and even travel on the weekends. Prague and Budapest are some of my favorite cities because what I saw and did and what I experienced. Thank you to the UFIC blog for allowing me to document these memories and bless Mutlu for advising this program.