Feeling at Home

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May 14, 2020
by Mira Luce Hamdan
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Feeling at Home

In July 2019, Mira Luce Hamdan traveled from Lebanon to Austria to attend the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change. When they arrived, they rediscovered their passion for media – and set out on a new life path Mira Luce Hamdan (left) at Salzburg Global Seminar

I don’t know how to explain in a few short sentences what the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change means to me. It sounds silly, but the Academy is more a feeling than a place: it is friendship, love, acceptance, validation, passion, enlightenment, home.

I felt truly at home for the first time ever when I was at Schloss Leopoldskron. I met the most interesting people, made friendships and connections, and I found something that I thought I had lost: I found my passion.

I struggled a lot when getting my bachelor’s degree. Somewhere along the way, I forgot why I liked media and media studies. However, the three weeks I spent in Parker Hall with the amazing instructors and my brilliant colleagues, the conversations we had with each other and with guest speakers, and the field trips around Austria reminded me of my love for media. One of the most amazing things is that everybody made sure to let me know and to remind me naturally and genuinely, that I’m actually good at what I’m doing.

The amount of validation, love, and acceptance that I felt in the Schloss and in those halls will forever fill my heart and push me further. I will always remember every kind thing and every encouraging word I heard from every person in that place because it all pushed me towards a better future. Before attending the Salzburg Academy, I had planned to get a Ph.D. in social work (and I’m sure I would have been great at it). But the Academy and the people there reminded me that my love and my future is media.

The part that still amazes me is that I almost didn’t attend the program. Initially, I wasn’t going to apply for the Salzburg Academy. Financially I was just not going to make it. Then, my professor told me that I could apply for a scholarship. I could barely believe it when I got the email telling me I was accepted into the program with a 50% scholarship. It was Christmas and my birthday all at once.

There is a Welsh word that loosely translates to yearning for home: “hiraeth.” I guess if I had to put it in one word, “hiraeth” is what the Salzburg Academy will always be to me.