Welcome back, everyone! I have safely reached Vienna(which I now know is called Wien over here) and completed the second week of my program. I have already noticed that being abroad is fast-paced and can lead to much self-discovery. To make the most of the time I have here, it’s best to create some goals to make sure that I can channel my energy into professional, academic, and personal growth. Professionally, I will make a considerable effort to get to know as many people as possible, both within my program and outside. As the IES program is a Pitt-recognized program and not a Pitt-run program, the 180 students here with me are from all over the place and represent many different universities. All these students are adventurous and driven, so building a network of these impressive peers would provide a great resource later in my life when it comes time to search for a job. I also plan to network with my professors with international connections in the fields I am interested in eventually entering. I plan to form these networks by taking advantage of every opportunity to get close to my peers and teachers and be vocal about my life plans so I can find people around me with similar aspirations.
Academically, my goals include excelling in my classes and learning about psychology from an international perspective. The field of psychology can be interpreted in many different ways based on one’s cultural background, so I cannot wait to pick the brains of my professors to see the differences in how psychology is presented in Eastern Europe versus the United States. A significant portion of my academic goal of excelling in my classes goes beyond just the numerical grade I earn on an exam or paper. I want to immerse myself in the cultural aspects of my courses. The city of Vienna acts as an extension of my classroom. To get the most out of this unique academic opportunity, I need to push myself out of the library to experience a greater variety of learning opportunities.
I also have quite a lot of personal goals I am hoping to achieve during my time abroad. I have always been a big planner, which has benefits, but I hope to become more adaptable to changing situations while studying abroad. Things will not always go as planned when I am in a new place with a language I do not speak, so I have to work towards handling these unforeseen problems in a relaxed and efficient manner. I also have a goal of trying more different kinds of foods which I hope to achieve through a class I am taking that is focused on Vienna’s food and drink culture class! Wish me luck!