Much like aloha, ciao, and shalom, the word szia has dual meanings. People use it colloquially as hello and goodbye. I’ve always been struck by words that can be used to say opposite ideas. To me, szia means “this will continue.” It’s not so much “hello or goodbye” as “we’ve met again” or “until we meet again.”


Right now I am finishing up the process of saying szia to the United States and szia to Hungary. Between an arduous application process, a missed grad school interview due to a terrible case of too much Nyquil, forgetting to renew my passport until the last minute, and the terror I’ve felt toward learning the only non-Indo-European language spoken in Europe, it is time. I’m headed off across the Atlantic for 12 months to follow a life long dream. I was the first in my family to attend college and will be the first to attain a graduate degree. Not to mention the first to live abroad since the early 1900’s.

I’m leaving behind something that is comfortable. I’m no stranger to chasing a dream, but this one feels different. This one requires a trans-Atlantic flight if something were to go wrong or I was homesick. This dream is full of language barriers, foreign customs, and brand new challenges. I’m leaving behind my family, my friends, and my dog. To be honest, not seeing my dog in person for 12 months might sting the most.

Despite my fears, I am full of excitement. I’m about to undertake a challenge greater than any I have ever experienced. This is a test of my strength and resilience. This is me proving to myself that I am worth taking a risk on. I’m trying to draw strength from the fact that the chair of my department thought I was valuable enough to award a full scholarship. That validation has carried me through recent doubts and fears. You never realize how much hearing someone say “ I believe in you,” helps until you hear it.

My new apartment is 2 blocks from Parliament.

My new apartment is 2 blocks from Parliament.

I’m getting ready to say szia. I’ve got 17+ hours of travel ahead of me ( including a LONG layover in Oslo). I have to say goodbye to my family, my friends, and my dog, but at the same time, I am saying hello to a beautiful country and city steeped in history and old world charm. I am saying hello to a global cohort of students united in passion if not native languages. I am saying hello to my dreams.

This isn’t really goodbye. This is szia, until we meet again and in 12 months I will be able to smile and say szia once again.


Tara Riggs is a reliable and resourceful virtual assistant managing social media platforms and InfusionSoft communications for Sheila Callaham, as well as other clients. Key skills she brings to the table include data reporting, email marketing, and a deep knowledge of twitter management. Tara currently lives in Budapest, Hungary where she runs Eunis Jean Media while missing her puggle, Eunis Jean. Follow her on twitter at @tarariggs.

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