My journey to Austria began on 5 March 2020 when I found out that I had been awarded a Fulbright community-based combined grant in Austria. I was ecstatic and began mentally preparing for my September departure. I did not expect that almost two weeks later, the United States would begin to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, and my grant would be affected. Unfortunately, because of the complexity of my grant, it was canceled. However, I was still invited to come to Austria and teach through the United States Teaching Assistantship (USTA) program.
As I began preparing my paperwork for my residency permit, I realized that my passport had expired. I quickly got my paperwork together, but when I applied for a new passport, I was told that it could take a minimum three months until I received it. I panicked for a short moment but began to exhaust all of my resources and figure out how to expedite my passport application during a global pandemic. I had all my proper documentation for my residency permit by 1 July and was waiting on my passport to turn in my residency permit application. I even bought my airplane ticket for $700 with a European airline because I knew that it may be easier to deal with cancellation or rebooking fees then to spend $1500 closer to the departure date.