Amanda O’Brien is a University of Florida student studying abroad during Fall 2017 in Vienna, Austria. To learn more about Amanda’s program, click here: Webster University – Vienna.
- What is your year and academic concentration?
I am currently enrolled in the final semester of my Master’s degree. I study Mental Health Counseling in the Counselor Education program.
- Have you traveled abroad before? If so, where and for what purpose?
I travel quite frequently to Europe, as I have been in a long distance relationship for the past year with someone I met while traveling a few years ago. Prior to this, I have spent time in Europe, traveling both solo and and with friends. Last summer I lived in Italy and worked as an au pair.
- Have you studied abroad before? If so, where and what did you study?
I have never studied abroad prior to this experience. I am excited to finally be able to live an authentic European life! I think there is something incredible about staying somewhere for an extended period of time. Backpacking doesn’t completely let you see the place as it is. I am excited to get lost in the culture!
- Where are you studying abroad and why did you choose to study there?
I am spending the next 6 months in Vienna, Austria. I would say that Vienna fell into my lap, versus me actually selecting it as the one and only place I wanted to be. I had been researching American Master’s programs in Counseling extensively. These programs are difficult to find, because in order to be licensed as a therapist in America, your education has to have a specific accreditation. I found my study abroad program randomly one day, and they showed willingness to accept me into their Master’s program. Additionally, I am at a point in my Master’s where I am completing a clinical internship. My study abroad program directed me to a list of internship opportunities, I found one, and I was selected. Everything fell together very nicely. There was a lot of effort in making this happen-I am the first person to ever study abroad in my Master’s program-therefore, I had to navigate a lot of the pathway on my own to make it work.
- What are you most looking forward to during your study abroad program?
I am looking forward to so many things! First and foremost, I am going to spend six months living on my favorite side of the world, doing what I love most-counseling. I am getting to experience what being a therapist in Europe is like, and that has been an ultimate dream of mine. I am also excited to live like a local. I signed a lease on an apartment in an extremely central part of Vienna, and the apartment is everything I could ever want. I have seemingly great roommates, and live with cafes, canals, and parks right outside my doorstep. All of these things contribute to me being able to experience the city as it truly is. Additionally, I am absolutely thrilled to be learning German. Learning a new language is something that I’ve had a hard time holding myself accountable with, but I imagine that by taking German courses and immersing myself in conversation with locals, I will be able to pick some of the language up. And then there is the added bonus that my long distance boyfriend is only a few hours drive away from me now, rather than a 12 hour flight. So many things to look forward to.
- What are some of your interests and hobbies?
I really enjoy traveling around Europe, meeting new people and experiencing the features of every city that I find myself in. I love sitting in coffee shops in these different cities, writing about my experiences and sipping the local drink. I also enjoy creative writing, and anything that allows me to be outdoors. This includes laying in city parks with a good book, or hiking up mountainsides with friends.
- Anything else you would like us to know about you?
Accompanying me on this journey is my Chihuahua, Valentine! She will be accompanying me on all of my adventures. 🙂