Abigail Genereau

Abigail is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Austria

Major: Biology

Minor: German and Math

Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?

I wanted to gain independence and live somewhere entirely different from where I live now. I also love travelling and adventure, so I figured studying abroad would be perfect for those interests. I decided on the Austria program because I love German culture. Additionally, I liked how Austria was centrally located, allowing me to see a number of different countries around Europe.

Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.

I loved the general way of life of the Austrians. They do not live to excess; they buy and eat what they can, and nothing more. They spend lots of time outside and really appreciate their history and culture. I think a specific example where these facts really came to a head was during the Salzburg festival of Rupertikirtag. Young and old were dressed in lederhosen and dirndls in the middle of the week, proudly singing their German songs and drinking beer. It really made me appreciate where I was and what I was experiencing.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

My experience was absolutely incredible, far and away the best experience of my life. I learned more about myself in the first two weeks of being there than I learned in 20 years of living in Minnesota. I became so much more confident and flexible, and
I gained some of the best friendships I have ever had. I would not exchange my experience for anything.

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?

I think most importantly for me, I learned to be way more confident in Austria. This has a number of effects on my personal, academic and professional development. I am not afraid to be assertive and ask questions if I do not understand something.

What advice can you offer for CSB|SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?

Absolutely study abroad. If you are on the fence about it, do it anyways. If there is any possible way to fit it into your schedule, even if you have to take a prof who is rated not as highly on rate my prof, do it. All of my friends who were thinking about it and did not study abroad regret it.