Jessica Thwaites

Jessica is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Austria
Major:
Physics
Minor: Math, Music

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

I chose to study abroad because I was interested in learning more German and learning more about the Austrian culture. I met our director, Matt Callahan, beforehand and decided that this program would help me achieve my goals. As a physics major, it was easier for me to study abroad as a sophomore than as a junior, so I decided to go a year early, which was a great decision. I am very glad I went on this program!

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

It was very important to me to rehearse with an orchestra while abroad. I worked with several professors, including my director, to find an orchestra. I ended up finding 2, and performing with one of them while abroad. Although I do not speak fluent German, I was able to successfully rehearse and perform with this orchestra. This experience showed me that music is truly a universal language.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

My overall experience was phenomenal. I felt very at home within Austria, and I feel I could live there easily again. This experience changed how I see the world as a whole, as well as how I view the US. I had a wonderful experience that I will never forget.

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 aim to go to graduate school after my undergraduate for physics. This experience has made me more aware of global issues in all subjects. For me personally, it has made me begin to consider doing part or all of my PhD abroad, or doing a postgrad in Germany or Austria.

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

Do it. There is not a single person who went that regretted it. If you think your schedule is too busy, make time for it. As a physics major with a music minor, my schedule is about as demanding as it can be, but I made it work and I am very glad I did. It is a phenomenal experience that is unlike any other.