Katherine is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Austria
Major: Political Science and Peace Studies
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I chose to study abroad because I have always had a passion for travel and learning about new cultures and I wanted the opportunity to live in foreign country for an entire semester and really experience their way of life. I have been studying German since I was in high school and I thought spending the semester in Austria would give me an excellent chance to develop my language skills.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
During our second week in Salzburg the city began the week long celebration to their patron saint, St. Rupert. During this time the entire old part of the city becomes the festival grounds; beer tents, small shops, rides, and food vendors pop up. Our whole group went on one of the first nights dressed in our typical American clothes, we were shocked to see so many people actually wearing the stereotypical Austrian/German lederhosen and dirndls. It was a very unique experience to sit around and talk with locals who looked exactly how you would imagine an old Austrian man would look. The next day our whole group went out and bought our own lederhosen and dirndls and then went back to the festival that night and we could all really feel ourselves starting to fit into the Austrian culture.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Living and studying in Salzburg was an amazing experience. I was able to go things I never thought I would do, climb a mountain for example. I was able to experience an entire different culture from where I grew up in the Minneapolis suburbs. Living in one city for such an extended period of time allows you to really become a part of a place, at some point you stop being a tourist which was one of the most amazing aspects of my study abroad experience.
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?
So many skills are developed from a semester abroad, you are able to try so many new things and have so many incredible experiences. I would have to say the number one was study abroad has contributed to my personal development was by helping me become more adaptable. Things don't always go as planned and when you are living in a foreign country it can be more difficult to adjust, but my semester abroad really helped me with this. Academically I was benefitted by being around native German speaker each and every day.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
I would encourage every CSB/SJU student who is considering going abroad to go. It may seem intimidating to plan to leave home for 3-4 months but you will be benefit in so many ways that you cannot even imagine.