Alumni Spotlight: Taylor Ollari


Originally from Western Massachusetts, I am currently studying history and German at the University of Rhode Island. When I'm not reading or writing, you can find me by the ocean, cooking, or dreaming and planning my next trip!

Why did you pick this program?

I initially chose AIFS Salzburg because as a first time traveler abroad, the program seemed very inclusive and was a good price for all it included! I loved the idea of the stopover in London and the fact that I would not have to worry about any of my transportation on the way to Salzburg. I knew I wanted to study abroad in a smaller city in that spoke German, and Salzburg fit that description perfectly.

What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?

Often I tell my friends that the minute they start thinking about it, they should also start talking about it- with other friends, academic advisors, and parents. The earlier you start planning the easier it is to go! There are a lot of great resources for prospective study abroad students and even though the early stages can be a bit daunting, there are a lot of people and websites that can really help with the whole process.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Go off the beaten path and always say yes to adventures! Salzburg is a beautiful city and has a great location right in the center of Europe. I wish I knew that it was okay to travel to more "less popular" locations and even to travel alone. Also you have to be a little outgoing to meet other international students and locals, and it takes some time, but is definitely wort it!

What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?

There are a lot! One weekend my friends and I took a trip to beautiful Venice, Italy. We were constantly getting lost! It was a little frustrating and stressful at first but in the end we kept stumbling on some amazing things. One example is when got stuck on a extremely crowded, narrow street that was having some sort of balloon festival. We spent probably about 30 minutes hand in hand, weaving ourselves through a bunch of Venetians celebrating who-knows-what! It was sensory overload but something I'll never forget.

How do you connect with other travelers or international students when you have the chance?

I am very introverted, and while I love meeting all different types of people, it is sometimes hard for me to make the first connection. Because of this, I found that it was helpful to have some "conversation starters" handy when you're on a train/in a bar/ waiting in line with a bunch of strangers! Sometimes all it takes is asking where someone's from, what their favorite country/or city is, or if there is a certain food that they would recommend trying. You never know who you will meet or connect with! Sometimes these conversations are just great conversations, but sometimes they can turn into friendships.