Home Austria Taking the Leap: How Austria Forever Changed Me

Taking the Leap: How Austria Forever Changed Me

by Alba Quezada
AIFS Study Abroad - Travel - Salzburg, Austria

It’s hard to believe that over a year ago, I jumped into the greatest adventure of them all. If you would’ve asked me where Austria was located on a map a couple of months before applying to the program, I would have probably asked you if you meant “Australia” (which was the response I got from about 55% of people).

Studying abroad was never in my college four-year plan. But hey, what ever happened to spontaneity, right? My best friend Rachael pushed me to take a chance and jump into the unknown, out of my comfort zone. In the blink of an eye, I was submitting my request for a leave of absence from school, visiting the Austrian consulate, and trying to find a suitcase big enough to fit four months worth of clothes.

Maybe it was the fact that I had no idea what to expect, but whatever trace of expectations I had, Austria beyond exceeded them. The people, the culture, the pastries… ah, the pastries… it was all so surreal. I remember so vividly driving into Salzburg and thinking to myself, “I get to live here for the next 95 days…”, not able to believe it. It was during these three months that I was able to fully live in the moment.


You know the saying, “Live every day like its your last?” As cheesy and silly as it may sound, I learned to take chances, say yes, get lost in the beauty of countries, drink way too many cups of coffee per day, and overall, believe in my ability to break out of the comfort zone I had been absentmindedly trapped in.

The Alba I became in Austria confidently bought a train ticket five minutes before it departed, jumped off at the bus station after spotting friends, and needless to say, barely got any sleep. You can get sleep back anytime, but late-nights singing karaoke, walking along the river, and taking a train off to Croatia are the nights that you will always remember.

All that is left to say is that although I didn’t believe in myself, something in Salzburg did. And for that, I am forever thankful, for the adventure of a lifetime.

This post was contributed by Alba Quezada, an AIFS alum who studied abroad in Salzburg, Austria.

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