Benjamin Carlson is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Austria.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
One night, after meeting some local Austrians, some friends and I went with our new friends to a small town South of Salzburg, called Hallein. After dinner, we all drove up a winding mountain road to a spot overlooking the moonlit Salzach River Valley and the city of Salzburg below us. At that point, we all realized how remarkable it was to have met such interesting people.
Why did you choose the program in which you participated?
Studying abroad to me was a way to learn about myself and my heritage, at the same time that it was a way to learn about the geography - the landscape and culture - of a different side of the world. I chose the Salzburg program because Austria is the only central European program offered by CSB/SJU, which naturally offers more chances to travel around Europe, learn about the language and culture of my ancestors, and meet people from many other places. Additionally, my mother and many other friends had studied in Salzburg, so I had many good recommendationsto go by.
Describe your overall cultural experience
Studying abroad is a wonderful way to see interesting things, meet interesting people, and do interesting things. Taking a night train from a distant city with a friend, one gets to learn a lot about themselves. Seeing a variety of landscapes and meeting a variety of people are worth any of the hassles of traveling.
How has the trip affected you? How are you different for having completed the experience?
After studying abroad, I feel that I am much more spontaneous, a little more certain about what it means to be myself, a little more appreciative of my own homeland - while knowing that I could live elsewhere comfortable as well - and a little more anxious to see the world.
What advice do you have for future Study Abroad Students?
Keep an open mind - not just pertaining to the culture, as you are often told, but especially in regard to trying new things, going to new places, and meeting new people. Also, don't expect too much from your experiences. Take from them what you can, and don't be disappointed if things don't always turn out exactly as planned.
Do you have questions about studying abroad in Austria? Email Benjamin at firstname.lastname@example.org.