Why did you choose this program? I wanted a German speaking place, the location is great, and Austrian history is fascinating and very much ignored in American schools.
Describe your favorite classes abroad: I enjoyed Vienna Theater, where I got to go to five different plays over the course of the semester and was in one at the end. Modern Austria in Central Europe was great because I learned a lot and got to do family research in the State Archives. I also liked Cultural Heritage of Austria because of the fascinating weekly excursions.
What advice would you like to give to future study abroad students? I want to say travel as much as you can, because it's something you need to take advantage of. At the same time, spend at least a few weekends in your home city in order to get to know it. Try the food, try to speak the language but don't get upset if you're not doing as well as you'd expect, don't freak out about getting lost, and try things you think you won't like because you might be wrong.
What’s your best memory from your time abroad? My best memory is standing on top of the Naturhistorisches Museum with my class, looking down on the Ring Street, left completely breathless by the view.
“If I could do it over, I would…” I would do more things with the other students in my program. The trips and events with them were the best part of the program, and I didn't participate in nearly enough.
What do you know now that you didn’t know before you went abroad? I didn't know that almost everybody in Austria speaks English and that most cities have awesome free walking tours (sadly, Vienna is not one of those cities).
What do you wish someone had told you before you left? I wish someone had told me that there's no way to avoid seeming like an ignorant American sometimes and that there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.
What was your greatest challenge? My greatest challenge was balance. Striking the right balance between academics and responsibilities on one side and travel and making the most of my experience on the other was extremely difficult. Sometimes I had to tell myself to stop worrying about money because you only study abroad once, sometimes I had to tell myself I needed to take a weekend off to catch up in classes. It was extremely difficult to find the right balance.