Allison Reinsvold is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Austria.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
The cafe culture in Austria is something very uniquely Austrian. It is a tradition we embraced as a group very early in the trip during the first week of the program and continued throughout the semester. Cafe culture taught me how to slow down and take time to enjoy relationships. The coffee (or hot chocolate in my case) is drunk slowly, and there is no rush to finish and leave. Since I returned from Austria I have visited more coffee shops with friends and have taken the time to try and bring that part of Austrian culture into my own life.
Why did you choose the program in which you participated?
I wanted to study abroad because I realized that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore another culture and see the world. For me choosing a program wasn't very difficult, because I wanted a program where I could use my German language skills and that narrowed it down to Salzburg, Austria.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Through this experience I became more comfortable being clueless than I ever thought I would be. I became used to not knowing what the people around me were saying or exactly where I was going or what I was doing. Salzburg is a gorgeous city and I loved exploring it on the weekdays and travelling on the weekends. It is in a prime location for exploring the rest of Europe, but even if you never leave the city you will never be bored. There is so much history in Salzburg, and so many alleys and churches to explore. In Austria I got to climb mountains, bike down the Danube, pick grapes in a vineyard, and visit monasteries and churches and palaces and castles and museums.
How has the trip affected you? How are you different for having completed the experience?
This experience changed the way I view the world. There are many things I had taken for granted about life in the US that were different in Austria or one of the other countries I visited. Studying abroad gave me a better view of what culture means and what it means to be an American. I now hope to be able to use my German skills in my career some day and to be able to return to Austria.
What advice do you have for future Study Abroad Students?
There is no way you can be prepared for what you are going to experience. The best thing you can do is be open to any experiences or opportunities that come your way and try and learn from everything you do and see while abroad. Make the most of every moment and have no regrets.
Do you have questions about studying abroad in Austria? Email Allison at email@example.com.