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Dana Hicks

Dana is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Austria
Major: History

Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I have always loved traveling and adventure. I also study history and like to visit some of the places I read about. I had been taking German classes for sometime as well.
I chose the Austria program because of its location--the history and sights of that area of the world sounded interesting and was somewhere where I could improve and use my German.

 Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
In Salzburg they celebrate the patron saint St. Rupert. He is credited with founding the Cathedral and the current city. They hold a massive five-day festival and people from all over the region come in to celebrate. It was a celebration of a community lasting down through the centuries.
The truly special moment was during the Mass celebration of St. Rupert's day. Before and during the procession through the streets of the old city from St. Peter's Monastery to the Cathedral, they rang the bells of the churches in Salzburg--all 30+ churches Each church chimed in, one after another until they all played beautifully together in a sound that could be heard all throughout the city. It was a spine-chilling and awe inspiring sensation.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.
It is hard to describe simply, but to choose a word: amazing. Studying abroad was a total experience--I learned new things, saw wonders to behold, met incredible people, and enjoyed life. Each day had a uniqueness and I tried to fully live each and every moment.

Based on your experiences abroad, what are some of the benefits of spending a semester abroad? How has studying abroad contributed to your personal, academic, and professional development?
I found the studying abroad makes one plan ahead, conduct research, and fosters curiosity. These three discoveries are the foundations of an education in liberal arts. Also these lessons apply to any profession one would take up. In in personal affairs planning, research, and curiosity are what make life interesting day in and day out.

What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?Plan ahead, research the corner of the world you will be living in temporarily. You can't know everything about the place, nor can you prepare for all situations, but still it is better to have some information than ignorance. Many opportunities are missed in skipped research.
As for those who are still considering study abroad--your life is comprised of your experiences: good, bad, mundane, and exciting. Study abroad is most likely something completely different from anything else you have done. Expanding experiences enriches one's life and inspires new ideas.