I took my sabbatical from Palm Beach State College for the spring of 2017 semester. I had proposed some projects that would help me flip my classes in the future and writing up lab experiments for my organic chemistry labs. However, deep in my heart what I really wanted to do was teach in a place other than USA so I could get an idea of what the students are like elsewhere. I have been teaching in USA for over 20 years and I needed to experience something different. I wrote to various Universities where I thought I would like to go (Belgium, Iceland etc.) regarding this but did not get a response except from Subharti University in India. (In future, I will look into Fulbright Scholar program!).
My request to all universities was to teach one or two chemistry classes at the university and a place to stay. Compensation was not high on my needs as I did not want to burden the institutions with a financial commitment, but a place to stay was a must for me. I did not want to rent or search places to stay. I also wanted to stay for a whole semester of teaching so I could start and finish the course.
At Subharti, I was offered a place to stay for as long as I wanted to work. I got the flexibility to join and leave as I wished. I was advised to come on campus and then it would be decided what I had to do. It was a little ambiguous, but since it was India I am aware of how things work there. Despite that, I called the Dean of Natural Sciences to ask what I would be doing there but never got a concrete answer from him. Oh well, such is India. It inspires to have faith.
I called the main office of Subharti and they said that classes don't begin until after 26th January. I booked my flight for the end of January so I could go straight to campus from Delhi airport. I thought that return from India would be great by the end of April because by that time, it would be three months of teaching and I had to get back to my summer work at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, USA.
While booking my flights, I realized it was cheaper to take a transit in Germany, so that added traveling to my plans, which I really wanted to do anyway, but was a little afraid. I decided that this year would be the one where I travel solo to Europe. My plan for the return journey from India then was as follows: Delhi to Munich, leave the same day to Vienna (Austria), stay a couple days and take the train to Salzburg (Austria), stay 2-3 days and take the train back to Munich. Spend 2-3 days there and come back to USA. A total of 9 days in Germany and Austria.
With all the planning done, I packed!