Friday, 30 September 2011

Life after 20 - By Jenni Austria Germany

When I reflect upon the past few years of my life, I realize that Europe has played an enormous role in my life post 20. This still surprises me sometimes. Before age 20, I'd never left the continent of North America and then, suddenly, Europe is my new home. How does that even happen? Let me explain....

Age 20: At the age of 20, I went to Europe for the first time. I began the trip with my parents and sisters (we traveled through France, England and Ireland), continued the trip with my best friend after they left (we traveled through Germany, Austria and Italy) and ended the trip alone (in Greece!). Looking back, I have no idea how I survived this summer because I was definitely no expert in European travel. I made so many rookie mistakes but I learned from these mistakes and, luckily, lived to tell the stories!

Age 21: Sigh. This was such a good year of my life. At the age of 21, I moved to Salzburg, Austria to attend the University of Salzburg. Not only did I fall in love with the city of Salzburg but Austria quickly became my favorite country of all time. There's just something about waking up every day to the beauty of the Alps. I'll never get over that -- so much beauty in one place, I could cry.

Age 22: This year was another great year for me! I moved to Vienna, Austria to intern for the US Embassy and was shocked by how different the two Austrian cities -- Vienna and Salzburg -- compare. Salzburg is a hard city to live up to but Vienna gave it quite the run for its money. This year only made me love Austria more than ever. I get so nostalgic when I think of my time there and I know Vienna will always be a place I'll visit regularly.

Age 23: This year might have been my hardest year yet. I moved to Germany and settled just outside of Nuremberg, teaching English at two different schools (middle - high school level). The year was full of ups and downs and if we're being honest, there were more 'downs' than 'ups'. But I learned a lot and that's what matters, right? Right. I think. I hope.

Age 24: This year of my life is just beginning. In fact...it begins today! Today is my 24th birthday. I'm going to come right out and say with high hopes that 24 will be my best year yet! To see how this next chapter of my life unfolds, join me here.

Thanks so much for having me, Alex!

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