Samuel Cushman - 2015 Program Participant

Salzburg, Austria covered in snow

In Salzburg, you're never far from something beautiful.

What inspired you to study abroad?

My sister studied abroad in Austria about six years ago. When we went and visited her, the place left such an impression on me that I knew I would do the same thing when I went to college. After a few years studying at my university, I decided to take up an international studies degree in my quest to become a higher class of global citizen.

What was your favorite part about Salzburg?

Salzburg is literally in the heart of Europe, so it's such a great location to travel all over. Not only that, but it's situated in a picturesque location between several mountains, and the gorgeous alps are always on the horizon.

What makes Salzburg College a unique school to study abroad at? 

Salzburg College caters to American students in our own liberal arts tradition. For those who are going abroad for the first time, it provides a safe environment to learn all about the culture and excel in your classes, while giving you enough freedom to discover things and take your own risks. By the time you're finished, you'll have all the confidence of a seasoned world traveler and come away with an appreciation of your place in the world.

The Highlands of Scotland

A highlight of my trip was backpacking through the wilderness of the Scottish Highlands.

How did local staff support you throughout your time in Austria?

The staff were always available to help those who needed it in any way they could. They helped us book tickets, find doctors when we were sick, recommend bars and restaurants, and they soon became our friends. I was sad to leave them behind.

Do you have any regrets or things you wish you would have done?

I have no regrets. You just have to keep an open mind and be ready for everything. The nature of going abroad is that you'll never see or do everything of interest. There's always that one alley that you didn't walk down or that distant castle you passed on a train ride that you never saw again.

What advice would you give students who are preparing to study abroad and are worried about not getting to do or see everything they want to?

If I could give advice, I would recommend that you make a reasonable list of specific things you want to do. Don't fill it with too much or you'll spend most of your time stressing about getting there to see them and you won't be able to enjoy it. If you can get to everything on that list, then you can consider your trip a success.

What was a typical day like for you as a student in Salzburg?

I would wake up around 7 a.m. every morning. After eating breakfast I would walk maybe a minute to my bus stop and ride a few minutes into the middle of town. School was only a few minute walk from the bus stop. Sometimes I would stop in at a bakery on the way to grab something sweet to eat. Depending on the day, classes would run until the afternoon with long breaks in between. Our lunch was cooked by a professional chef in a beautiful Baroque church. After the day was over I would usually walk through Old Town Salzburg and grab a beer or coffee before going home.

The grave of J.R.R. Tolkien at Wolvercote Cemetery in Oxford, England

I paid homage to one of my favorite authors at his grave; I left this little reminder for the next traveler who comes by.

What did you enjoy doing outside of your coursework? 

Other than traveling on the weekends, I would walk through the city or hike all over the place. There are plenty of beautiful mountains that you can hike nearby that provide wonderful views of the surrounding mountainscape. I think my favorite mountain to hike was Gaisberg. It's not too high, but it makes for a great day hike that's challenging enough and will reward you with a great view at the top.

What type of accommodation did you have? What did you like best about it? 

I stayed with a host family, and the best thing about it was having a home cooked meal every night for dinner.

Now that you're home, how would you say studying abroad in Salzburg has impacted your life?

When I was over there, I definitely developed an appreciation for the way of life back home. I'm from the South and we have a complicated and dark past, but all of us are most certainly proud of the rich and lively culture that exists today. We have a certain way of doing things, a way of interacting with people and serving our communities, that I always took for granted. When I was uprooted from that and thrust into Europe, it became obvious.

To truly understand the world and those in it, you need contrast, not adherence to a single idea.

I've always wanted to understand others and I've always loved learning. I'm determined now more than ever before to continue that journey for the rest of my life.

Untersberg Mountain near Salzburg, Austria

The mighty Untersberg mountain dominates the landscape near Salzburg.