We caught up with Evelyn Meisell, who studied abroad in 2006 alongside her partner, Collin. Read on to learn more about these AIFS in Salzburg, Austria alumni and their international experiences, as well as their (swoon) study abroad romance. Evelyn shares how studying in Austria impacted them personally and professionally for years to come.
1. When and where did you study abroad?
Collin and I studied in Salzburg, Austria during the spring 2006 semester.
2. How did you meet your partner?
We met in the Longhorn Band at the University of Texas at Austin. He played tuba and I played clarinet. After a year of dating, we decided to study abroad together through AIFS!
3. What is one of the most memorable moments from your study abroad experience?
The 2006 Olympics was in Torino, Italy – a short distance from Salzburg on the map. Collin and I, along with a number of our new AIFS friends, decided to take the quick trip to see an Olympic hockey game. Little did we know, Italian trains would always be late, and we were stuck overnight in the Bologna train station. After much miscommunication with the Italian train ticket office, we finally made it back to Salzburg, 12 hours later than expected. It was a good lesson for our group – stick together, stay calm, and always expect Italian trains to be late.
4. Have you and your partner been back to your study abroad location since your time abroad as a student? If yes, what was that experience like for you?
Collin and I have been back to Salzburg twice – once on our honeymoon and once for Oktoberfest in Munich. Salzburg is still as charming as ever! We visited our old stomping grounds and met up with our Austrian friends.
5. Are you and your partner still in contact with other AIFS in Salzburg alumni, or anyone you met during your time abroad?
Our Facebook group is still going strong, even after these 10 years! We have met up with a few people in Washington DC, Salzburg and San Antonio.
6. Are there any activities or traditions from your time abroad that you have continued with your family back in the US?
Collin and I purchased full trachten – lederhosen and dirndl. We host an Oktoberfest party every year and still use the recipe for strudel from Ulli, our AIFS culture expert.
7. Where have you traveled abroad since your time as a student? What are your top destinations for future travel?
We have traveled extensively in Europe, and lived in Montenegro from 2012-2013. We highly recommend Montenegro for the beautiful landscape, interesting history and fantastic food. Other countries that we adore are Austria, Turkey, Georgia, Poland and Chile.
8. We know your study abroad experience impacted your personal life… how did it impact your career choice and/or lead you to your current job?
Our study abroad experience kicked off our passion for international experiences. I (Evelyn) have gone on to become the Associate Director of International Programs at the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University. I work with students as they prepare for their time abroad! Collin was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Montenegro and is working on his PhD in English Rhetoric, focusing on international students.
9. Any advice for recently returned study abroad students?
Stay curious! There is much more of the world to explore, and study abroad is just the first step. Read the world news, plan your next trip, and stay in touch with friends in your adopted home country.