Grant Christian is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Austria.
Major: German and Economics
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I have always had a knack for traveling, and with the ease, availability, and opportunity of the study abroad programs at CSBSJU it was an easy decision. I wanted to see more of the world and that is exactly what I did. I saw more than I ever expected to, and more opportunities have been opened up to continue my exploration dreams because of studying abroad.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
Walking through the gates of Mauthausen, one of the largest concentration camps during WWII was one of the most eye opening experiences ever. Walking the same steps, standing in the showers, barracks, and sitting in the same seats as prisoners of war was a very moving experience. Words cannot describe the emotions that run through your body, it needs to be experienced in person.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
It was an experience like none other. Traveling and sightseeing is one thing, but to totally immerse yourself in a culture and find yourself with opportunities that a tourist wouldn't have is completely unique. It was an experience that has led to personal growth and a broader understanding of the world we live and the different people and cultures that live within it. I wouldn't trade my semester abroad for anything. I wish I could do it again!
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?
The main benefit of spending a semester abroad is experiencing the culture and language of the country you have been studying firsthand. There are simply some things that cannot be learned and understood in a classroom in America. The only way to learn them is to go there!
Being a German major, this trip fit perfectly into my academic career. I could apply multiple courses towards my major while fulfilling common curriculum requirements as well. I want to be able to incorporate my language into my future career as well, and being able to spend 4 months in the country of the language studied looks great on a resume and brings me that much closer to fulfilling my goals.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Don't stress over what program you want to go on. All programs are very well coordinated, and provide very different opportunities that are all wonderful. You will love your trip no matter which program you decide to choose.
When you are abroad, don't be afraid to travel around. You will find yourself with free time like you would at school, the only difference is that it is much more challenging to hop on a plane, train, or bus and see things you haven't seen before at school! Look ahead at your schedule, do some research, and plan a day trip or weekend trip when you have the time. Go out and see the world!
Do you have questions about studying abroad in Austria? E-mail Grant at firstname.lastname@example.org.