Why did you choose this program? I wanted to experience study abroad in a German-speaking country, but the semester programs didn't work for me. Graz seemed like the best of both worlds.
Describe your favorite class(es) abroad. The Austrian culture class was interesting and I feel like I learned the most in that one.
What was the housing like on your study abroad program? We lived with host families in Graz. Most of the families had hosted students for many years, so they were really welcoming and prepared. They're all handpicked by an Austrian coordinator, who is awesome.
What advice would you like to give to future study abroad students? Definitely do travel on the weekends and whenever you can. Take advantage of all the holidays that Austria has and don't be afraid to ask the host families or the Austrian coordinator for help or suggestions on what to do while you're there! I went to Budapest for a weekend and I definitely wish that I had done more traveling.
What’s your best memory from your time abroad? We got to be in Graz during the world cup so we had many opportunities to watch Germany play while being in a German speaking place! My best memory would probably be right before I went home and was in Berlin. Germany was playing that night so we went down to the Brandenburg Gate and there was a huge screen set up and thousands of people there. We got our faces painted and cheered them on at a sports bar close to our hotel. It was a really cool experience.
“If I could do it over, I would…” Have traveled more and stayed at my host family's house less.
What do you know now that you didn’t know before you went abroad? Before I didn't realize how different Austrians and Germans are, even with the language. It was interesting to see and experience that since German classes in America really focus only on Germany.
What was your greatest challenge? Because I'm so shy, living with the host family was a big challenge for me. They were really friendly and willing to help me as I struggled to communicate with them, so that really helped. In the end it was a good experience and living with the host family was one of the best things when it came to learning the language.
Discuss: “Going abroad vs. staying on campus.” Going abroad is the best way to really learn a language. Staying on campus is great, but when there is a summer option like this one it is worth it to just go and have this experience. It really helped my German and it opened me up to what kinds of things are out there in the world.