Taylor is an ambassador who studied abroad in Austria
Major: Environmental Studies and German (Music minor)
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
When I was in 8th grade, I traveled to Germany, France and Switzerland for a choir tour, and it sparked a wanderlust that has never gone away.
Coming into college, I knew that one of my main goals was to study abroad. And, as a German minor, language definitely played a large roll in choosing the Austria program. In addition to the language factor, after researching the location a bit, I totally fell for Salzburg, and how the city is very cultured and world-renowned, but it's also very easy to get out of the city for a day trip in the Alps!
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
The city hosts a 5-day festival called Rupertikirchtag in the middle of the city, celebrating the founder of Salzburg. It was one of the most culturally traditional experiences that I had in Austria. Everyone wears their Lederhosen and Dirndls, and the city explodes with traditional music, food, and dancing. This happens fairly close to the beginning of the program, and I remember wandering around and being filled with wonder of how much respect and continuity the Austrian's have of their traditional culture.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Completely eye-opening and educational across every spectrum of life. Perhaps it's a cliché to say that about studying abroad but it's very accurate. Whether in or out of class, wandering around the city, or hiking up a mountain, I felt like every minute of my time in Austria was an adventure, and I think I learned something from every moment of my time abroad. It's hard to measure how much I learned and how many experiences changed my world view.
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?
You really grow as a person. You also really get to know yourself. I think I learned more about myself in 3 1/2 months than I've learned in the past 3 years, because of how you're in a totally new place, with new people, and constantly new experiences. I learned a lot about my flexibility and how I adapt to new situations.
Studying abroad also taught me to live in the moment, because you're abroad for such a short time, and I can apply that to every part of my life back home.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Realize that sometimes the things that don't go according to plan are OK, and sometimes turn our better than the plan! Be open to new experiences and opportunities; there's not a moment when I said "YES!" to exploring or travelling or talking to a new person that I regret. And one of the most important pieces of advice I think I can give is cherish every moment!