International Programs Office
Student Success Center
Campus Box 1159
Study Abroad Coordinator
Dr. Ronald Schaefer
International Programs Director
I studied abroad at Salzburg College in Austria for the summer 2008 semester. The five and a half weeks flew by and were everything I hoped them to be. I worked hard, solved problems, and allowed my mind to be stretched by all that I experienced. I was academically challenged and enriched by all the arts that Austria has to offer.
I arrived directly at my host family’s house on May 14th. My host mother helped me adjust to the new time zone and differences in daily living, such as conserving water and separating all trash for recycling. The family owned a car but seldom used it because of gas prices. Instead everyone used the bus system or bicycles. My host sister Alexandra, 5 yrs old, gave me some particularly fond memories such as visiting a fortress to watch a falconry presentation. Hiking up a mountain with my host father was something I will never forget!
My classes were challenging as well as rewarding. I took German lessons and oboe lessons. Both of them required practice and I was in a great place to apply what I learned! As I learned more German in class I used it at home, and my host family was very patient with me. They helped me to connect pieces of the language together. We had class almost every day and two hours of homework each night. Two days a week we had a German-speaking lunch table.
I had lessons two to three times a week with my oboe professor. The frequency of lessons increased the speed with which I was expected to acquire skills and I feel I benefited immensely from this. My host family was also very encouraging of my musical practice and never inhibited my practice in their house. I was part of a woodwind quintet, which allowed me to apply playing techniques in a group setting. We performed publicly at the close of the program.
During my time in Austria I was able to attend many musical events that enriched my experience. My professor invited me to several performances of his that were marvelous, including Verdi’s “Falstaff.” I was able to hear him perform with the Salzburg Camerata two times in a virtually perfect acoustical setting. When our group traveled to Vienna I was able to attend the Grand Opera. Their costumes and sets were very modern and the music was exceptional.
I feel my study of German and music in this classical setting was very beneficial to my learning. I feel more confident playing the oboe and my professor’s comments will give me skills to work on my whole life. Most of what I learned is part my life-long learning. I hope to continue growing in my knowledge of music and foreign languages through travel.