Emily Tjaden ’24

Program: Austria Semester

Major: Communication

Minor: Art

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

Studying Abroad was an experience I was not sure about at first, but through the influence of my friends and co-workers I decided to take the chance and go for it! I knew that it would be a chance for me to boost my confidence traveling and learn a different prospective of the world. I chose the Austria program because of the location, landscapes, and views. I had taken three semester of the German language and thought it’d be cool to be surrounded by a German speaking culture.

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

Hanging out and talking to other Austrian students in our dorm lounge was an experience that had a lasting impression on my experience in Austria. Talking to other people my age about politics, social norms, and differences about our countries probably contributed most to my education about Austrian culture. That is an opportunity that cannot be learned in the classroom.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

The Austria program I went on partnered up with the American Institute for Foreign Studies (AIFS) where I got to learn in a small atmosphere with other American students from around the United States. We lived in a Studentenheim (student housing) where we lived with other Austrian students that attended the University of Salzburg. Overall, the school/life balance was great! I got to travel with friends on the weekends while still having a great educational experience. Salzburg was the perfect place to call home as it is a city of 150,000. It was the perfect size as I grew up in a small town of 2,000 people!

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 abroad contributed a lot to my personal growth. Learning how to adjust to a different culture is eye opening. There are some things that Austrian society does that I truly enjoyed and want to incorporate that into my everyday life here in the United States. I have learned a lot from others to help me make sense of the world and how every society has their pros and cons of life. Learning how to communicate in a different language was a challenge, but it made me realize how other countries are accustomed to speaking English. I really wanted to try to speak the native language as much as possible and locals appreciate it if you try to. Europeans have different teaching style so academically I grew to learn in a different format. From a professional standpoint, studying abroad is a great addition to my resume. I also created connections not only with Austrians, but with other American students outside of CSB+SJU. The more connections you can make, the more opportunity you have after college.

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

If you are even considering studying abroad…DO IT! Before I left, I was having some doubts and was getting uncomfortable, but that allowed me to grow. Getting out of your comfort zone can be scary, but it is so worth it to experience so many things in the time of a semester. I did not want to leave when the time came to come back to the United States. I really want to go back in the near future. Take the leap!