11 days remain until I depart for Switzerland and Austria for an interim course and I never expected I’d have the chance to study abroad during my time at UA. My faculty-led program is called Finding Meaning: Exploring the Synergy of Psychology and Art Through the Mind and Soul and I would imagine it’s going to be a very unique experience. I chose to study abroad because I got an email about this program and realized that it perfectly fit my New College depth study because I am combining psychology and art with the goal of someday becoming an art therapist. There was no way I could pass up the opportunity for this trip since it so perfectly fits my program of study as well as my schedule and budget; I’m also interning this summer so an interim trip was exactly the right trip to stumble upon.
Preparing to go abroad has been few and far between because it’s the end of the semester and there are so many other things going on. However, I just went to my pre departure orientation, my group has had several meetings, and I’ve already started on some of the assignments. The group flight was already full when I went to purchase my ticket, so I’ve been feeling kind of anxious about travelling without the other students in my program and I’ve been trying to mentally prepare myself for the travel days. To prepare to pack, I purchased a new suitcase because the one I’ve always carried has a rip in it, which isn’t conducive to international travel. I’m packing most of the usual stuff plus a few art supplies; right now I’m thinking my portable watercolor palette, my art journal, and my 35mm film camera. I leave the day after exam week, so right now my process to prepare is just basically to survive dead week and exams first and then throw everything into a suitcase and go.
I’m experiencing a plethora of thoughts and emotions about my upcoming trip. I’m really, really excited, but also a little bit overwhelmed because I don’t feel like I’ve had time to process that I’m really going since this is a really busy semester and I made the decision kind of last-minute. I’m thinking about my family and friends a little bit; I’m sad that I won’t get to go home or see my parents between now and when I leave. I feel like they would make sure I’ve thought of everything, and I’m a little worried I’m forgetting something important. Regardless of any nervousness, I’m so excited to see Switzerland and Austria! It is a part of the world that I never expected to see, but it seemed like kismet that everything fell into place just right for this trip to happen for me. Overall, I think I’m equal parts excited and anxious. I believe the anxiety will go away once I’m actually there but the next two weeks are so hectic that I’m just worried about making everything happen and getting there in one piece.
I have a number of expectations and goals about my upcoming trip. I hope to expand my worldview, immerse myself in a new culture, and gain inspiration for my artwork. I also believe travelling alone and not really knowing anyone else in my program will be a good lesson in independence and being a successful adult. I also hope to learn a lot, both in and out of class. I’m very interesting in the subject matter we’re covering; I’m really looking forward to learning more about the fathers of modern psychology and their influence on early 20th century art. I’m excited to see everything, of course, but from the research I’ve done so far, I’m most excited about seeing the Red Book exhibit at the Zurich Library. The Red Book is a journal filled with Jung’s notes and artwork while he was studying symbols and archetypes and was not released to the public until several years ago. I’m very interested in book arts and art journaling, so I’m thrilled to have a glimpse inside Jung’s mind through his personal notebook.