University of Minnesota Duluth Skip to Content MyUMD | Search | People | Departments | Events | News  
CLA Advising - UMD CLA
College of Liberal Arts - UMD
Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight

Other Study Abroad Experiences



Julia Ploof

Julia Ploof

Study Abroad: Salzburg, Austria


What’s your major?
My major is Anthropology.

Where did you study abroad?
Salzburg, Austria

How long were you abroad?
One semester

What types of courses did you take?
German, an Art/Culture Course, a Contemporary Culture Course, and a WWII Course

What did your program consist of doing?
I studied through AIFS (a UMD affiliate). I attended the University of Salzburg and took classes that were in English and offered through my program. My program also offered long breaks for students to travel, as well as many planned excursions to amazing places around Europe. The program offered an extraordinary balance of support and independence for the students.

What is your favorite memory from your study abroad experience?
I don't think I could pick a favorite memory. Because everything is entirely new when a person studies abroad, the memories he or she takes away from the experience are created on a daily basis. Every interaction with the locals, trip to a new place, or experience you share with a new friend will shape the best memories.

What would you say to someone considering study abroad?
I would tell someone who is considering studying abroad, to just buckle down, and go for it! There may be many apprehensions or nervous feelings, but they will never regret it. All people are capable of much more than they believe, and by doing something they may not feel 100% comfortable with, they will gain an immeasurable amount of self-confidence. It is amazing when you are able to surprise yourself, and do things you never thought you were able to do. Many times, it is the experiences people are most nervous for or scared of that make the best memories.

What was your favorite local landmark?
My favorite local landmark was the Festung Hohensalzburg. It is the castle that is on a mountain in the center of town. I was able to see it everywhere I went, and am constantly reminded of the incredible place I call home.

What was your favorite local landmark?
My favorite local landmark was the Festung Hohensalzburg. It is the castle that is on a mountain in the center of town. I was able to see it everywhere I went, and am constantly reminded of the incredible place I call home.

What were your living accommodations?
I lived in a dorm. It was somewhat similar to the dorms in America. I had a roommate, and we shared a room and a bathroom. Each floor had a common kitchen.

What was your greatest challenge while being abroad?
My greatest challenge abroad was unfamiliarity and the language barrier. Taking a flight into a country which speaks entirely German was terrifying because I have no German language experience. I could not read the signs, talk to the people, go grocery shopping, order at a restaurant, etc. It was very frustrating and triggered homesickness. I knew most of the people in my program struggled with it as well, so it made it easier to talk to them about the differences. I kept telling myself that the Austrian culture was not wrong, it was different. Learning to embrace the differences and similarities was very rewarding.

What skills did you acquire abroad?
The greatest skill I acquired while abroad was independence and self-confidence. I feel very capable of doing things on my own and making decisions for myself. I was on a different continent, living my life, and I feel proud of that fact.

Has study abroad influenced your academic/career path?
Study abroad has greatly influenced my career path. I always new (sic) I was interested in culture and understanding how other people around the world lived, but being able to experience other cultures first-hand, has given me the determination to progress in my field of study, and also the confirmation that I am in the right major.

What were questions you were asked by local residents?
Many local residents asked what brought me to Salzburg and what I was studying. Many of them also asked questions about America. It is interesting to hear their perspectives on the country I grew up in, and to discuss the similarities and differences between the United States and Austria/Europe.

Before I left my dad told me it is possible to "be somewhere without really being there." I tried to think about that daily. I always lived for the moment and took every chance I could to get out and go places and see things and meet people. The experience is what I make it. Studying abroad anywhere can be amazing if people are to put themselves out there and are willing to make mistakes, have amazing adventures, and grow as a person.

Julia's answers were altered slightly only to reflect past tense as she wrote them while she was abroad.

 

© 2012 University of Minnesota Duluth
The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
University of Minnesota Campuses
Crookston | Duluth | Morris
Rochester | Twin Cities | Other Locations