Jacob Saffert

 Jacob is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Austria
Major: Political Science

Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I knew that I wanted to study abroad since I was really young. My parents both spent time in Europe when they were in college, so I grew up hearing of the wonderful experiences they had. I chose the Austria program for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, I needed to choose a program that fit with my academic plan. As it turned out, Austria was the best fit. In addition, the location was perfect. Salzburg is a lively city with a small-town feel. It is located at the northern edge of the Alps, so the city is incredibly picturesque. The city is well-known for its iconic castle, Mozart, and the Sound of Music, but there is far more to experience than just that.

Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
The Salzburg program arranges for participants to live in international student apartments. This arrangement fostered many great friendships throughout the semester. I was constantly surrounded by other students from diverse backgrounds. Throughout my time in Austria, I had many opportunities to talk, cook, and hang out with the other residents of my building. This gave me a great chance to learn more about how life is different, or the same, for peers from other parts of the world.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.
I had very high expectations when I left for Europe in August of 2012. My time abroad far exceeded those expectations. I made so many wonderful new friends from all around the world and saw so many beautiful place during my four months in Europe. When my program ended in December, I wanted to stay longer. I did not expect to become so attached to Salzburg and the people I met in such a short time. It almost felt like I was leaving home to come back to Minnesota.

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?
On a personal level, my time abroad has taught me to appreciate every opportunity I have. When I was traveling from place to place, I always had the thought in my head, "This might be the only time in my life when I am here." Because of that, I was always exploring and trying to experience as much as was possible.
Academically, my time abroad fulfilled many of my required courses. I was able to take an ethics course, a political science course(for my major), and an environmental studies course(for my minor). It was important that my semester in Austria allowed me to stay on track for graduation.

What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Step out of your comfort zone. Spending time abroad takes a little courage, but it is definitely worth it. Once you are abroad, don't be afraid to try new things. It will make your experience that much more meaningful.



Do you have questions about studying abroad in Austria or want to have an access to my blog? Email Jacob at abroad@csbsju.edu