My name is Abigail and I will be studying abroad in Budapest, Hungary for the spring 2019 semester. I chose to study abroad because I have never left the United States before and I know studying abroad will be a great way to see the world. Many factors played into my decision about where to study abroad. I knew I wanted to study abroad in Europe because of the setup. Asia is a great place to study abroad but it is much more expensive to travel because the countries are spread out so far. In Europe, everything is so close and there are so many cheap airlines, you can get everywhere cheaper than getting to different states in America. So I knew I wanted to study in Europe but then it was a matter of which country to study in. Since I had never been anywhere it was a tough decision because I hadn’t seen anywhere so I didn’t have a “favorite” country or one country I had never been to that I thought would be cool to explore. I started asking everyone I knew what their favorite places in Europe were. This got me some great ideas and I started researching different countries. During this process, my mom’s best friend ended up moving to Budapest, Hungary. She said it was a great place and really cheap and has loved how easy it is to get to the airport and travel to different parts of Europe. I did my own research and that is how I ended up knowing I wanted to study in Hungary. When I looked for a program only three of the programs that came to the study abroad fair had options for studying in Hungary. I went into the study abroad office at UA, told my advisor that I wanted to study in Budapest and she found the three programs. Two of them were cheaper than the third so we eliminated the third and then only one of the last two had business classes so I decided to study with AIFS. AIFS ended up being cheaper than a semester at Alabama which made it an easy decision for my parents to agree. After deciding where to go abroad I knew I had to do a lot of work. There is a lot of paperwork to get done. I didn’t have a passport so I had to get that before I could even apply to my program. I had to get a visa since I will be staying in Hungary for longer than 90 days. I had to think about what I was going to pack for three seasons and multiple countries with varying climates. the airline that I will be taking to Budapest only allows me to bring one suitcase with 50 pounds. A second suitcase would cost $90 so I decided not to buy another suitcase but that means that I have to be very exact about what I am bringing and make sure I bring everything that I need and not a bunch of stuff I will not use. I also am doing a lot of research to prepare for my trip. Since I haven’t been out of the country before I am looking to do a lot of travel so I have looked into costs to make a practical budget and make sure I can do the most available to me. As I prepare to leave I am making sure that I say my goodbyes to all my friends and family as they will not all be able to visit me so it will be a while before I see them. I feel like I am pretty prepared and I am so excited to go. Since I have never left the country I am also pretty worried. I do not know how best to avoid being pickpocketed. There is a lot of crime in Europe and I am afraid that as an American tourist I could attract a lot of it. I am mostly worried about my travel. Going to different destinations in small planes and staying in hostels presents many new situations with a lot of risks. I know that I can research and do my best to avoid these situations. I have already been asking people for advice and am starting to feel more prepared but the worries are still there. While in Budapest I have a few goals. I want to see as many countries as possible. I have so many places on my bucket list and twenty weekends available. Being able to travel and see the places I have read about and seen in movies would be unreal. I also hope to pick up a decent amount of Hungarian. I have to take a Hungarian class and hope that by the end of the semester I will be able to get around the city on my own so that when I one day come back with family and friends I will be able to speak the language. I hope that by the end of my trip I consider Budapest a home of mine and can confidently show people around and give them a full experience. Overall I am so excited for this trip and cannot wait to embark on my journey.