Benjamin McBeain

Benjamin is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Austria

Major: Global Business Leadership


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

Having heard all the amazing stories from upper classmates and alumni about their time abroad I naturally felt the need to study abroad and create my own stories to tell. When it came to choosing which program, I decided on Austria because of the prime location. Austria borders 8 other countries making it very convenient to travel around Europe. On top of the great location in Europe who wouldn’t want to spend fourth months living in the mountains and the scene of The Sound of Music!                       

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

For me, not knowing any German going into the semester, a cultural experience that has made a lasting impression was the first time I ordered a meal in straight German and actually understanding the waitress. On a more fun note, I will never forget my cultural experience at Oktoberfest and signing Ein Prosit with the locals.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

Incredible! It was like I was living in a fairytale. At first I was nervous about the language barrier but that only added to the whole adventure. Before I knew it I was speaking fluent German…well not really but I did learn more than I ever imagined. The people in Salzburg were great and always willing to help me with my subpar German. I became great friends with a group of Austrians and spent lots of time learning their traditions and hanging out with them. I will never forget my time in Austria and can’t wait to return some day.

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?

Where to start? Spending a semester abroad has been a life changing experience. Personally, I have gained an enormous amount of independence and confidence. Academically, I learned so many new things including German and fascinating art history. And as for professional development I now have international relationships and got to see how businesses are run is foreign countries.

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

Do it! You will never regret studying abroad. Don’t be afraid to try new things and fully embrace the culture by stepping out of your comfort zone and I know that sounds cliché but really do it. Don’t spend every second with the CSB/SJU students, get out on your own and meet some locals but be safe.