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AIFS Summer Term in Salzburg, Austria
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Kyle Cornman

Major: Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, International Politics
Minor: German, Greek, History, International Politics
Hometown: Harleysville, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found out about this study abroad opportunity through my own personal research. I looked through the programs offered by Penn State, and nothing was quite what I was looking for; I came to realize through this search that I wanted to see Austria, so I asked around about good cities to study at in Austria, heard of Salzburg, and turned to Google to find available programs that fit what I was looking for. I ended up deciding to apply to AIFS.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I spent a month's time in the city of Salzburg, Austria, during which time I stayed in a local hostel and took two courses at the Universität Salzburg. One was a Classical Music Comprehension and Appreciation course, the other a German Language course. I practiced my German speaking skills daily, both in class and around the city. The program also involved cultural trips, which enabled me to visit other cities, such as Munich, Vienna, and Innsbruck. Within the city of Salzburg, I was shown elements of local culture: how the people of Austria drink coffee, the little known but exquisite pastry culture of the country, and (my personal favorite) the iconic Salzburger sausage stands. I really came to feel like a part of the city by the time my stay there came to an end.

How did this experience impact you academically?

My study abroad experience in Salzburg was my first opportunity to spend a full month in a German speaking country, where I could practice the language by speaking it in everyday interactions. It was a pivotal experience in the growth of my skills speaking the language, and it has birthed a desire in me to return to the country to learn and practice more. Credit-wise, I have been able to work toward completing my general education requirements in the arts while gaining a healthy respect for the classics that had been lost on me until then. I hope to also have acquired some credits to help complete my minor in German and BA in International Politics.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

Though I am still uncertain about what career field I want to go into, I am considering a few options. The one that is perhaps most attractive to me is to earn a PhD studying a subject such as Assyriology, Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Ancient History, Historical Linguistics, or something else of the like and attempt a career in academia. Skill in the German language would be immediately necessary in any of these pursuits, not to mention quite valuable in the career path that would follow. Indeed, improved understanding of the language and the cultures of its speakers would be valuable to any career in the modern day.

I find that perhaps the most lasting benefit of my experience was the chance to develop my German language skills among native speakers in a German speaking countries.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would certainly recommend this experience to anyone interested. Certainly, I find that perhaps the most lasting benefit of my experience was the chance to develop my German language skills among native speakers in a German speaking countries. However, more than half of the students who decided to attend this program with me this past summer had no background in German whatsoever. Yet, all of them seemed to thoroughly enjoy the experience and garner a great respect for the country and the culture. I have been around a good bit of central Europe, and Salzburg is one of the most charming cities I have ever spent time in. I wish everyone could have a chance to see it, honestly.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

It is because of Paterno Fellows that I attend Penn State today, and it is because I decided to study the Liberal Arts at Penn State that my academic journey has taken the route that it has. On top of that, Paterno Fellows has encouraged me to study abroad when I can and has helped to fund the programs that I have chosen. If it were not for Paterno Fellows, I may never have gone to Salzburg, nor Rome the year before or Athens in the year to come for that matter. Suffice to say, Paterno Fellows has had a great positive effect on my experience.

For more information on global opportunities for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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