Brady Dietman is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Austria.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
The experience I remember is a situation that happened many times to me and usually to our as a whole. We learned very quickly that public transportation in Salzburg, usually buses, is a place for quiet time. When we first arrived to the country everyone was very excited, so when we initial rode the public buses we would have conversations in a very boisterous voices. We did not really consider the people around us who seemed to be in a trance. They were not saying a word and if they were, they spoke in whispers. As time went on we began to get an idea of how we should treat the situation and not really be too loud. And, even at the end I do not think we had the Austrian way of riding the public bus down.
Why did you choose the program in which you participated?
I have always have had a love for traveling the world and studying abroad gave me the opportunity to do this as well as getting my education. I think everyone should experience a different culture first hand; this can affect a person's perception of the world and usually in a optimistic way. I choose to study in Salzburg, Austria because I am a German language minor and there is no better way of grasping a new language than spending an extended period of time in a place where the language is the native tongue. I also have some family heritage coming from Germany. Although I was studying in Austria, I was able to get some idea or the culture and history of my ancestors. And, it was very interesting to see the similarities and also many differences between German and Austria. Considering how most people think that Austria is just a Germany Jr.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Without a doubt, studying abroad in Salzburg has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. I have seen and learned so many things that I would not have through studying abroad. Initially everything seemed uncertain, a new country, only having a few people from my home country around me and I did not know many of these people, plus I had a new language to deal with. But, this feeling went away very quickly. Soon, the people I did not know became my good friends for the next four months. The fact that I was in a foreign instantly creates excitement, encouraging me to go out and explore the country, culture, and the people. I was surprised how quickly I became comfortable in the new situation; I did not have time to be hesitant. I had the chance to work on my German language skills every day, something I have never had before. Attempting to use the native language was a struggle, but it is crucial to jump into it right away. The fact is, everything that seemed uncertain at first became my favorite elements during my time abroad.
How has the trip affected you? How are you different for having completed the experience?
First and foremost, the time I spent in Salzburg, Austria gave me a great opportunity to advance my German language skills. I could use the language in every day conversation. I had really never had this opportunity before. Also, I was surrounded every day by a new and intriguing culture. I have travelled before, but I had never spent four months in a foreign country before. I had the chance to see how the people of Salzburg lived, what they ate, how they taught, and what they viewed as important. It was eye opening experience and I really appreciated.
What advice do you have for future Study Abroad Students?
It is important to take advantage of every unique opportunity that your Study Abroad experience provides for you. There will be times when you are not sure if you should take the chance, but I know that every time I did it paid off. I do not have any regrets about how my time abroad played out, but I know that if I had not done some of the things that I was initially unsure about, it would have altered my experience in a major way.
Do you have questions about studying abroad in Austria? Email BMDietman@CSBSJU.EDU.