Meet Alli Jones, a junior music education major at Texas Christian University, who studied abroad on the IES Abroad – Vienna Music Program in Fall 2017. As an Ambassador, Alli shares her experiences with other students on campus to help them make studying abroad a reality, and how to make the most of it once they land in their host country.
Read on to learn more about Alli’s tips for how she studied abroad as a music major, how to make a study abroad location feel like home, and why she enjoys being an IES Abroad Ambassador.
IES Abroad: Why did you choose to study abroad with IES Abroad?
Alli Jones (AJ): IES Abroad offers such a wide array of study abroad programs that cover all disciplines and send students literally all over the world. As a music major, semester-long programs are hard to come by, but IES Abroad offers two music programs (in addition to multiple direct-enrollment options) in different cities. My program allowed for me to take courses that went directly on my transcript, not as transfer courses, and that were applicable to my major and interests. I had the opportunity to study music in arguably the best location in the Western world to do so, perform multiple times, and see many wonderful productions at the Wiener Staatsoper. IES Abroad also went above and beyond to make the semester a fulfilling and immersive experience.
IES Abroad: What tips would you give a student to help them make their host country home?
AJ: It is so important to invest yourself in your study abroad host country/city. The most important tip I have for making it feel like home is to actually spend time there. The temptation to travel the whole time you're abroad is real, and I struggled to strike a balance because I also knew how important it was for me to be in Vienna. Ultimately, if you are never around on the weekends, or even just exploring once you get out of class, you will never truly feel at home with the culture and layout of your city.
Get outside of your dorm, apartment, or homestay and go visit the places that the locals frequent. Be bold and talk to locals! Stay up to date on major events happening on any given day, and check them out. Take the time to really get to know your new home so that it becomes more than just a launchpad for your other adventures. Becoming deeply familiar with a new city is one of the greatest and most rewarding adventures you could ever have. Don't waste a minute of time in your host country.
IES Abroad: What have you gained from being an IES Abroad Ambassador?
AJ: Being an IES Abroad Ambassador has been a really rewarding experience so far! It gives me an outlet to continue sharing about my experiences and to help other students as they begin their study abroad journeys. I have assisted at study abroad fairs and predeparture meetings and have had the opportunity to meet and work with representatives from IES Abroad Chicago, which has been really fun and productive. I also known that I have the support of IES Abroad staff whenever I want to plan different events on my own campus to promote IES Abroad programs. On top of all that, I got a pretty sweet package in the mail with an IES Abroad Ambassador T-shirt, water bottle, and sticker. Can't beat free stuff!
Learn more from Alli about what it’s like to study abroad in Vienna on her IES Abroad Blog.
Have a question for a student who’s already studied abroad? IES Abroad Ambassadors are here to help. Find an IES Abroad Ambassador and reach out with any questions you might have!