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Vienna, Austria: Intercultural Communication (Summer)
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Ryan Westlake

Liberal Arts Major(s): International Politics
Minor: Arabic Language
Hometown: Maywood, New Jersey

What was the best part of your experience?

The best part of my experience was exploring the beautiful, historic city of Vienna. Vienna is a unique city with so much to offer; every day we found new places with long, interesting histories behind them. I always felt very safe in Vienna, and it was very easy to travel around to the many different parts of the city. Other than Vienna, Salzburg was my favorite place to visit. Just like Vienna, Salzburg has a plethora of history and stories behind the beautiful landscape and infrastructure. The history and quaintness of the country of Austria made my trip both extremely exciting and extremely comfortable.

Not only did this program provide me with a new way of thinking and learning, but it also benefitted my confidence and communication skills, which are necessary to be both a productive student and a productive member of society.

How did this experience impact you academically?

One of the courses included in this program was taught by a teacher from the University of Vienna, and it was taken with other University of Vienna students from various countries and backgrounds. This experience exposed me to different teaching and learning styles that I may have not been exposed to if I did not study outside of the US. Not only did this program provide me with a new way of thinking and learning, but it also benefitted my confidence and communication skills, which are necessary to be both a productive student and a productive member of society.

How will this experience impact your career goals?

My career goal is to be able to represent and stand up for the rights of marginalized groups around the world. This study abroad experience was my first time truly living and studying among people with very different cultures and experiences than me. This exposure to different cultures and ideas is necessary for me if I want to work with people from other countries in the future. There were also many opportunities to network with people from various backgrounds, including media companies, the United Nations, and even members of the Kosovo government.

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