Student studies in Innsbruck, gets to travel Europe


Katie McCoy visited Herrenchiemsee in Munich, Germany while studying abroad.  Photo courtesy of Katie McCoy

Katie McCoy

Editor’s note: In each issue this summer, The Crimson White will publish a column written by a student who is studying abroad in order to share their experiences in a foreign country.

This summer I was fortunate enough to participate in the UA in Austria program led by Glenn Tootle through the College of Engineering. I participated in the summer interim course, Water Resources and Climate: European Alps, to gain a unique technical elective credit for my major.

Although I returned from my study abroad program at the beginning of June, the experiences I had are still fresh in my mind. Our classes were intriguing and were held in a much different atmosphere than most college students are used to: a historic hotel lobby. Our lab and field exercises took us from Austria to Italy and then to Germany a handful of times.

We visited three castles, the highest point in Germany, ice caves and more. From learning about the cross-dating techniques used to find the age of medieval castles to calculating the snow water equivalent of the many Austrian glaciers, this class had something for everyone to enjoy. For those who enjoy music history, we were able to spend two days in Salzburg visiting historical sites such as Mozart’s birthplace, and taking an informative boat cruise down the river. When we were not in class or out in the field for lab, we were free to visit historical sites in Innsbruck on our own.

Class socials made it easy to immerse ourselves in the resident scene. We had pizza parties and did karaoke at a local tavern and were able to find all the great restaurants during our three weeks in town. Some of the students even hiked to the top of the mountain (while my sister and I took the cable car to the top and took pictures).

At the end of the program, it was easy to continue traveling through Europe, so I went on to England and Wales for 10 days before returning to Alabama.

Studying abroad opens your eyes to cultures different than your own and that experience can be invaluable when joining the workforce upon graduation. The opportunity to take a class for degree credit while traveling is something that I believe every student should take advantage of.

Katie McCoy is a senior majoring in civil and environmental engineering.