Study abroad so far has been a never-ending vacation, and it keeps getting better and better.
Back at UConn I could never imagine meeting someone and within the week of knowing them have already made plans to travel the world together, it’s basically travelling with a stranger. But for some reason, while studying abroad this is completely normal. First few weeks of the program everyone was extremely anxious to make travel plans as fast as possible in order not to be left out and miss out on any opportunities. The first trip that I had helped plan and take part in was with a group of 10 students to Vienna, Austria. We had woken up at 3am the morning we were leaving to catch our 4-hour long bus ride to Vienna. It blew my mind that a city with such a different culture, language, history and architecture was only a few hours way.
Our group took part in a free walking tour, which was a very useful resource in learning more about the history and why the city is the way it is now. It amazed me to learn that one third of Austria’s population lives in the city of Vienna. It would be impossible to imagine a third of the United States population living in New York City, the largest city in the USA. Vienna has a rich history of culture and prosperity. Music is a HUGE part of life in Vienna. Vienna is to classical music like New Orleans is to Jazz. You have the Opera, the Concert House, churches, and many venues where people can experience live music. Some of the most known classical music composers lived in Vienna including Mozart and Beethoven.
First Hostel Experience
We arrived before noon and went to drop off our bags at our hostel. This was my first real hostel experience and I was not sure what to expect. When we finally made our way into the foyer we were pleasantly surprised. Despite the depressing exterior of the building, the inside was colorful, clean. The room was a basic 6 bed dorm but it had everything we needed: 3 bunk beds, a table, lockers, and shared bathrooms in the hall outside the room.
There are many misconceptions about the hostel way of travelling such as being robbed, sleeping on dirty mattresses, or sharing a room with the strangest people. We can thank TV and Movies for these presumptions. Since there were only 4 of us girls in a 6-bed female dorm, I was a bit concerned about the other 2 strangers we would be vulnerably sleeping with. However, I now realize that all guests at a hostel have a commonality: we are all merely trying to safely sleep through another night on a budget in order to be well rested for our travels the next day.
Packing for hostels doesn’t require much more than a regular packing list, but I will be sure to bring flip flops for the shower, toiletries as they are not provided, a padlock, and a towel. The towels were €7 to rent which is half of what our hostel cost for the night! Despite this, hosteling will definitely be a major part of my travels going forward.
The Travels Continue
It has been interesting to see how things change inside me depending on where I am and who I am with. It’s been a beautiful process to learn about myself as I am placed in situations where I must learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. I now have a semester booked with travels almost every weekend and am looking forward to sharing my experiences.
Student, UConn School of Business
Kasia Kolc is a senior studying Accounting. She is writing this blog as part of her scholarship from the Global Business Programs Office. Kasia interned at PwC, a Big 4 public accounting firm, this past summer. She had also interned in Wealth Management at Merrill Lynch and Janney Montgomery Scott. A fun fact about Kasia is that she was a girl scout in the Polish Scouting Organization for 10 years.