If you’re reading this, you are likely either Mines alumni, or my own friends and family (or both). So for those of you who don’t know me, here’s a little about myself. I am currently a junior petroleum engineering undergraduate student here at Colorado School of Mines. I moved up to Golden from Katy, Texas, and am currently loving the change of scenery. I am a huge fan of the outdoors, from hiking to skiing to camping to just hanging around a fire with friends, so Golden is really a great place to be. That being said, as much as I love it here, I also love to explore. The McBride Honors Program in Public Affairs that I am part of here at Mines encourages us to do just that. The slogan for this year is particularly fitting for my semester abroad: “Explore Your World.” And that is exactly what I plan to do!
After months of running back and forth across campus getting professors to sign paperwork approving classes, meeting with the international office, and trying to figure out exactly how this whole study abroad thing is going to work out, I finally have plane tickets to Europe! I am so looking forward to spending spring semester working on my petroleum engineering undergraduate degree at ‘Montanuniversitat’ in Leoben, Austria. I have always loved to travel. Seeing new sights and experiencing different cultures has always been alluring to me, so spending a semester abroad has been in the back of my mind for quite some time now. The idea really took hold after I became close friends with some international students who were studying at Mines from all over the world. I loved hearing about their cultures and learning bits and pieces of their language. Spending time with students from Norway, Holland, France, Spain, England, Denmark, and Australia only increased my desire to spend at least a portion of my college years totally immersing myself in a completely new culture and experience.
Never having been to Austria, I really am not sure what to expect. Luckily I have made a few friends this past semester who are from Leoben, and will be returning to Austria for spring semester as well, so I already know at least a few locals! From what they’ve told me, Leoben is surprisingly similar to Golden, with just a few small differences. It’s a small town located in the foothills; the mountains, however, are not the Rockies, but the Alps. The small town is also known for two main things, a technical school and a brewery. Most of the classes, however, are taught in German, and the brewery doesn’t have Coors on tap. My German skills are far from great, but it’s amazing how much you can learn with a bit of free time and a good language learning program. Luckily, all of the petroleum courses there are taught in English, but that doesn’t mean I’m not making it a point to learn German. While I’m sure my accent is terrible, my knowledge of German has at least expanded to more than the single word I had previously known: Prost.
My future blogs will hopefully be much more exciting, as I get involved in the local community, learn the language and culture, and try out the local grub. I’ll be sure to give updates on what myself and the five or six other petroleum students who are also spending the semester abroad are up to. And of course, there will be pictures. For now though, I’ll bring this one to a close. I’m so thankful that Mines provides students with opportunities such as this, I really do owe Mines so much for all that has happened in the past two and half years. Thanks for the support, and hopefully you’ll enjoy the future blogs from this Mines student in Austria!