Austria goes Missouri

Studying abroad tends to be high up on every students to-do list recently, right after „sleep“ and „learning 16 management chapters in one night because you have the time management of a toaster“. For myself, it was time to pack my toaster and move it back to Lower Austria because I would head off to another study abroad adventure.

St Louis is calling

The most popular countries to visit during your time abroad are still our favorite English speaking nations such as Australia, the UK and the United States. Let’s be real, we all have at least one friend at all times who is on a study abroad in Australia. For me, the decision was pretty clear where my wanderlustig heart would take me next: back to the “mothership” of Webster which is located in a cozy town just outside of St. Louis/Missouri.
A lot of factors literally moved me to this location: the American college lifestyle, friends on this campus thanks to our international network, and also maybe the fact that I signed up for a study abroad 3 weeks before classes started. I know, this contradicts with my advice about „How to Study Abroad“ but do as I say, not as I do 😉.

One phone call here, an email there and within a few hours I had a departure date and a place to stay on campus – international universities make studying abroad as simple as a quick weekend visit home; and this is exactly where I would go: home to St. Louis and to our main campus.

The adventure begins

I arrived at Webster St Louis with a course plan, a jet lag and the determination to use every minute of my next 8 weeks in the states. Thankfully, compared to other American universities, our St. Louis campus is rather small and has the extended-family vibe. Every day you meet someone new but also know everyone else around you; and you start to feel like you live in a world inhabited by only 20-something year olds who all try their best to figure out this thing called „ being an adult“ just like you.

So I traded in my jeans for jogging pants, my Praterstern-Billa for late night trips to Walmart and my coffee for …. coffee – it was Pumpkin Spice Latte season after all. The result: instead of getting up 1.5 hours before classes start, I would set my alarm 5 min before course begin and walk to class with my blanket wrapped around myself to survive classes in the infamous East Academic Building. Dear American universities: turn down the air conditioning, save a study abroad.

When classes were over for the day it was time to enjoy the typical American college student life which consists of:

  1. taking naps with your friends
  2. going shopping at Walmart
  3. documenting every step on Snapchat
  4. throwing a party in the elevator
  5. all of the above

A life within 8 weeks

It never gets boring at the Webster home base, especially with so many creative minds joined in one place. The campus in St. Louis is known for its creative arts programs like acting, film and photography. Getting a call at 3am in the morning to hang out on set is a common occurrence in the Webster-World. Time is an illusion anyway. I realized that the hard way as I suddenly looked on the calendar and it was already time for me to leave again. It seemed like I had just arrived yesterday but looking back at all the things I have done, it felt like a lifetime.

I always like to say that studying abroad is like a life within a life. I met so many old friends again and made new ones. We studied, we explored, we road-tripped and we partied (just a lil bit). We wrote so many papers, took even more naps and solely contributed to 50% of Starbucks’ 2018 revenue. We survived Haunted Houses, abandoned warehouse photo shoots, had bonfires on pumpkin patches and got kangaroo kisses. We discovered St. Louis, drove around Nashville, retreated in Illinois and ate KFC in Kentucky. And all of that in just a term.

In the end, it was time to „saddle the chickens“ and make my way back over the great pond to Europe because Vienna was waiting for me. Also one or two hours of sleep wanted to be caught up with. It is time for the next group of study abroads to leave their nests and visit one of our 7 international campuses and inspire us with their own stories. Until then, I will sit in my Viennese corner and wait until the travel bug catches me once again and takes me back to St. Louis. All good things come in threes.

St. Louis, thank you for the memories!