Jane is a student at Towson University, majoring in Anthropology and International Studies with a minor in German. She studied abroad with AIFS in Salzburg, Austria during the Fall 2017 semester.
Why did you choose this program?
I chose AIFS because it was one of the only programs that offered Salzburg as a location. I have an affinity for and connection with the area surrounding Salzburg, so going there for my three months abroad and choosing AIFS was a no-brainer. AIFS was a great choice in that I felt like my Study Abroad experience was exponentially bettered by their attention to detail, efficiency, and willingness to lend a hand when I was having trouble with anything.
What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
AIFS assisted me with my visa, accommodation, class schedule, meal planning, budgeting, and pretty much anything and everything else a student could need help with when going abroad. Since it is an all-inclusive program, entering into the intimidating world of studying abroad was eased. On my own, I chose to organize my own flights to and from Salzburg.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
A piece of advice I would give someone going on my program (or any program) is to cherish the time you have. Hold onto the memories. The time passes by so quickly, and by the time it is over, you'll feel like a more confident and better version of yourself. Document everything about the experience through photos, videos, or even just an old-fashioned diary. Give yourself something to look back on and proudly say, "Wow, I really did all of that!"
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
The average week looked like a typical week in any college student's life, except so much better. In Salzburg, taking the city bus was the highlight of my weekday. Commuting amongst the locals and watching the beautiful Baroque buildings and mountains pass by was something I'll never forget. Classes were always interesting, which is a plus compared to some of the courses I imagine I would have taken at home if I hadn't gone.
In the evening, cooking in the kitchen with fellow international students was always a great time to be social and to learn about different areas of the world. On the weekend, time would be spent either traveling to a new city or further exploring the city I was living in. Every single day was an adventure!
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
My biggest fear going into studying abroad was that I wouldn't make any friends. I tend to be very shy around new faces, so going into the program having known no one was incredibly intimidating. At first during my time abroad, I struggled finding connections with other students. However, as time went by and I opened myself up more, I found a group of friends who really transformed my time abroad. My time abroad transformed from what I expected to be a lonely experience to one filled with laughter, friendship, and love.
Is there anything you would have done differently?
Although I try to live without regrets, the simple answer to that question is yes. Something I would have done differently was to go into the city of Salzburg and do things more independently. For example, I wish I would have volunteered in the community, joined a club, or simply gone hiking on my own more often. I wish I hadn't let others' schedules impede what I wanted to do. I wish I had given myself the boost of confidence I needed to go solo every once in a while, like treat myself to a meal, or go on a hike on a day off.