Benjamin is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Austria
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
A few foreign exchange students from Germany came to my high school senior year and they brought with them a way of life that was completely different. From then on I knew I wanted to go and see Europe and all the things it had to offer. I was fortunate enough to visit Germany the following summer for a few weeks and got a small taste of the German language and culture, I was hooked. I started taking German courses at SJU and knew I wanted to keep working on mastering the language. I had never been to Austria and wanted a chance to see yet another culture and practice the language first-hand.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
For my 10 day break I and two other guys took a trip that stretched from Germany, to France, to Switzerland, back to France, to Italy, and back to Austria. The things we saw and did are forever burned into my memory, the mountains in Switzerland were absolutely gorgeous and are some of my most fond memories of the trip. Planning and executing a trip over 10 days was challenging and exciting and I use the skills I learned there in everyday life back home.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Overall, the Austria trip was better than anything I could have imagined. I made friends from CSB/SJU as well as a plethora of international students studying in Salzburg just like we were. The friendships I made in Salzburg will last many years past this trip and I hope to revisit again and again. I've seen a great deal of what Europe has to offer but know now that there is still a lot yet to discover. I would love the chance to live there someday and will do everything I can to make sure this Study Abroad experience stays with me for the rest of my life.
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?
There were so many opportunities to travel and see Europe and we took every chance we got to get out and see every possible thing. We experienced so many different cultures and ways of life that I know changed how we view ourselves on a global scale. We learned how to plan and carry out a trip. Whether it was a trip to a coffee shop or a trip around central Europe, the skills we all developed will stick with us for a lifetime.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Look at the country you are going to ahead of time. Look for the things that interest you and start thinking of plans and ways to see them. When you arrive, get to know locals, they will show you places that a normal person would never find! Be prepared. Know your country and the weather you will be exposed to, nothing is worse than going to a country and needing to buy everything over again. The biggest thing is figuring out what you really need and don't need.
Do you have questions about studying abroad in Austria? Email Benjamin at firstname.lastname@example.org