It has been a few months since my trip to Salzburg, Austria.
At the first orientation meeting, one of the professor’s described the average GPA of the group. I remember looking around and thinking to myself, “What am I doing here?” On the Salzburg Scholar website, there are biographies of each of the previous scholars. I feel like I don’t measure up to the previous engineering students that have gone before me – and I am in graduate school! Yet, I made it. I can identify myself as a Salzburg Scholar, or Salzburg Fellow depending on who you ask.
My expectation of this trip was that it would be transformational. That this trip would impact me in the same way a month long family vacation to the Philippines rocked my world after my sophomore year of high school. I told my friends that when I come back, I will be a different person.
So the YoHo
I had not arranged to room with my peers when I got there. To be honest, planning for this trip was towards the bottom of a long spring semester to-do list. So when I entered the room at the YoHo, my reaction to finding out that I would be rooming with my female peers was, “the rooms are co-ed?” Ask them.
Aesthetics, or “I am here and you are not”
Yes, anywhere outside of home (Sacramento because home is where my parents live, but I live in Milpitas) is amazing and beautiful and picturesque. You could “lit’rally” look at a Salzburg picturebook in America and that is exactly what it would look like in Salzburg. (You should check out my Instagram and Facebook pictures. #theBayisintheArea, which I forgot to hashtag.)
Seminar at the Schloss
I was overwhelmed with insight from the seminar speakers and students from around the nation. Some of the topics were “Mapping Ethnocentrism”, “Conversation on Global Citizenship”, and “Mapping Globalization.” What I can say about each session is that I wrote down a lot of questions and action items. There was a lot of amazing things to think about.
Students from Around the Nation
Chicago State University, Eastern Kentucky University, Houston Community College, San Diego Community College, and University of San Francisco were there.
One of the speakers was an Indian woman teaching young Afghan girls in Afghanistan. As a Maker Corps Member for the summer (keyword search: Maker Faire, Maker Movement, Maker Education Initiative, The Tech Museum of Innovation, STEAM, DIY), I could not help to tell her to bring her students to Maker Faire Rome. To bring Making to her school.
Bonding happens outside of Requirements
At the end of every night, I would spend some time, looking across the lake in the direction of the Alps with the Schloss behind me, just soaking it all in.
Induction into High Society
The crowning moment of the seminar was the final night. Before dinner, we watched a solo piano performance by one of the students from the local university. Rondo alla Turca never gets old. Then after the performance we enjoyed a dinner that was served to us, the previous nights were buffet style. It was at the dinner where it hit me, I, we, have just been inducted into high society. We have reached an achievement that most folks won’t get, or would even think of.
I have only seen the Carrie Underwood version of The Sound of Music
Bringing the ideas of the Seminar Home (not just Sacramento), or Meeting Expectation
The trip was indeed transformational, but not in the same way that the trip to the Philippines was transformational. I knew that the trip was, to an extent, a bootcamp to become a change agent. To describe the trip in one word: Comfortable. I felt like I should have been there. That the conversations I had were the ones I should be having.
I look forward to this upcoming academic year of Salzburg activities. As President Josiah Bartlet from NBC’s The West Wing says, “What’s next?”