Jen Wachtel
History major
Modern Languages, Linguistics and Intercultural Communication (German), Judaic Studies, and Art History and Museum Studies minors


Jen enjoying the view from the Alpine village of Hallstatt


Roaming about Salzburg

Mozart's opera La clemenza di Tito at the Salzburg Landestheater
At the opera at the Salzburg Landestheater

After studying the German language since sixth grade, I knew I wanted to spend time in a German-speaking country. This was also the perfect opportunity to explore my Austrian heritage. I specifically chose the city of Salzburg, Austria for three main reasons: course offerings, Salzburg’s convenient location between Munich and Vienna, and the program’s cost compared to similar programs in Vienna. Since I studied with the American Institute for Foreign Study, included with my tuition came academic advising, housing, weekend cultural excursions, and a modest stipend for meals and local transportation. I completed my German elective requirement by taking “Hitler und das Dritte Reich” (Hitler and the Third Reich), which was taught in German. My Austrian Folk Art and Folk Culture course not only familiarized me with local cultural history, but also fulfilled a Topics Seminar elective for my Art History minor.

Jennifer_Wachtel_2Living in Salzburg broadened my horizons of financial, academic, and even culinary independence; the result was taking spur-of-the moment trips to Vienna, the nearby villages of Hallstatt and Bad Ischl, and even attempting Austrian recipes. Every day I had the opportunity to bask in the beauty of the city’s very own medieval fortress, Hohensalzburg, to one side and the gorgeous Alps to the other. I would highly recommend that students spend time with locals – they might help you practice the local language or recommend the best ways to travel around Europe! I would encourage students to study abroad in order to experiment with a foreign academic system and to try something completely different. For instance, I hiked the Gaisberg, one of the minor mountains of the Limestone Alps! A semester abroad counts towards much more than a UMBC degree. My semester in Salzburg reminded me that after graduation, there is still so much of the world left to explore.