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Genevieve Kromm '13
Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador?
I'd like to encourage students to go abroad and help them overcome any financial or emotional obstacles that might be keeping them from pursuing it seriously. For me, it helped to see the enthusiasm of my friend who went to Milan and also returned as an International Ambassador for SCU. I also think the Vienna program from IES is a great program for students looking for more opportunities in the arts. I'd like to promote the program more to students who would otherwise not know about IES Vienna and the experience of living in Austria.
Deciding factor for studying abroad?
I'm a Psychology and Music double major with a minor in History, so Vienna was a great fit for my studies but also what I love to spend my time on. I was with students who are just as passionate as I am about music, which was very rewarding. I also wanted to learn another language and the German program at IES Vienna was wonderful! Other than Vienna being a hub of Western European culture, it is also in the heart of Europe, making travel to other countries very easy. Besides, in what other city can you see Sigmund Freud's house, Klimt's famous masterpiece, The Kiss, and see Mozart's opera Don Giovanni all in one day?
Defining Moment Abroad?
One day on the brink of fall, just as the grapes were starting to be collected for next year's season of wine, my friend Bert and I hopped on the U-Bahn and took it all the way to Heiligenstadt, which is on the edge of Vienna and where there are many a Heuriger (wine taverns that produce their own wine in the vineyards surrounding Vienna). We didn't have a plan except to look for one of Beethoven's houses and find a tavern or two. Both of us loved Beethoven's music, so it was an unforgettable experience to walk where The Master used to take strolls away from the chaos of the city and also where he wrote the famous Heiligenstadt Testament. As he said in his Heiligenstadt Testament, art helped him triumph over despair and reaffirmed his will to compose music (which is why we have the famous "DA-DA-DA-DAHHHHH" from his fifth symphony today). I later had a deeper appreciation for class time when we talked about Beethoven and his music because we had made that trip and taken the time to reflect on Beethoven's life and personal struggles, followed by a cool Viertel of wine with schnitzel. It was also personally rewarding to apply that experience to when I perform his symphonies. His story is a story of Vienna and is an inspiration to anyone who questions the number of hours they devote to studying and mastering a skill.
Advice to Prospective study abroad students?
Gain as much language as you can before you go, and once you get there, take advantage of any opportunities to learn more language. At IES Vienna, they have a Language Buddy program where you meet Austrian students from the University of Vienna, which is both great for language development but also to meet "real live Austrians." Almost everyone speaks English as well as German, but you will get more out of being abroad the more you can connect to other people from the city. Also, PACK LIGHT!!!