John Fitzpatrick

John is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Austria

Major: Elementary Education



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

I chose the Austria program as I believed it would give me the greatest opportunity for further travel and cultural experience. In Israel, I saw an opportunity for an unusual and unique learning experience.

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

Our program's excursion to the town of Krimml and the famous its famous waterfalls is easily one of the best experiences of my semester in Austria. Krimml is a village situated in the lower end of a pass into the West Austrian Alps. The village lies across a small road from the tallest waterfall in Europe. The Krimml falls are perhaps the most beautiful place I have ever been. The water is melted glacial ice so cold and clear that it is completely safe to drink. The mountains that loom overhead give an odd sense of safety. During our excursion to the village, the harvest festival was going on. Traditional dances, dozens of huge beer barrels being tapped, roasted meats and bread stretched through the twisting village main. A parade of the returning cattle slowly wound through the small town. Dances sprung up in the streets and musicians played on the corners. It was a day I will never forget.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

Challenging, yet everything about it felt completely right. I never felt more comfortable than when I felt uncomfortable on the road. I know that seems like a weird dichotomy, but when I pushed myself and got out of my comfort zone I felt much more "correct".

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?

Studying in Europe and Israel has allowed me to push my personal bubble further than I had imagined possible. The experiences have redefined my worldview and personal life goals. I had hoped to one day travel around the world and visit several different countries. Now, I am seriously considering moving abroad at some time in my life.

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

JUST DO IT!!!!!! The financial challenge can be a hurdle, but CSB/SJU will do their best to help you make it as affordable as possible. The most important thing you can do is to always say yes to a new experience. The only regrets I have from my time abroad are the times when I failed push my comfort.