If you had told me when I was in high school that I would take a ten-day trip to Europe in the middle of winter, I might not have been too surprised. I was busy looking at colleges with strong study abroad programs, since I knew that traveling was something I really wanted to do in college. McDaniel itself is pretty remarkable in that it offers lots of study abroad Jan Terms–this year, I have peers traveling to England, Italy, China, and the Bahamas during Jan Term.
But things are a little more surreal now that I’m actually going on one of those trips! For ten days, 13 classmates and I will be touring Normandy, Paris, Vienna, and Budapest as part of a McDaniel Jan Term class called Travel Writing Across Europe, which is being taught by Writing Center director (and my boss), the wonderful Mr. Josh Ambrose! (My fellow McBlogger and friend Amber is also going on the trip, so we’ll be sure to let you know what happens!)
Now that I’ve gotten a few last-minute items I’ve been needing for the trip (most importantly, a new handbag that can fit both an SLR camera and a journal), I’m feeling less stressed and anxious for my trip and more excited! I’m looking forward to going to all the places we’ll be visiting for different reasons. I’m excited for France because my younger sister went there over the summer on a high school trip. I’m especially excited for Austria since I took German in middle school and high school and for two semesters at McDaniel–though my German-speaking skills are really rusty, I’m looking forward to trying to speak a little of it anyway (hopefully without looking like a total idiot)! And of course, I’m looking forward to visiting Hungary because that’s where McDaniel’s sister campus is. It will be cool to get to go somewhere that dozens of McDaniel students have been to without having to commit to an entire semester of studying abroad there. (I’ve also been told that Budapest is a great place to go thrift shopping!)
I’ve been to Europe before, having spent three weeks in Germany as an exchange student the summer before my senior year of high school, but this trip will be very different. It’s January, so things are going to be cold. And I’m packing a lot less this time around, since I’m not staying at anyone’s house and won’t have a “home base” for a ton of stuff. But I’m excited to have opportunity to learn how to travel with less, to hone my travel writing skills (which are something I worked on last semester as part of my Advanced Composition class), and to have outstanding camaraderie with some awesome McDaniel students, many of which I already know.
Here’s to a warm, safe, and fun trip!