Meet Trejin Hartsfield

Program and Location:

Summer, Austria: German Language and Culture in Vienna; Vienna, Austria

Major/Minor:

Biochemistry

Why did you choose to study abroad?

I am taking German and I wanted to become really good at speaking it. Once I found out this program is in a German speaking country and you get to take a German course, I knew I would benefit from it; and I did. Also, I’d never been outside of the country before this trip. I wanted to experience other places/things besides what I have known for my entire life.

What did you learn about yourself?

While I was there I got really homesick. At one point it was really bad; all I thought about was going home. It was because everything was different, the way people communicate, eat, shop, etc. I was extremely uncomfortable. With that being said, I learned to appreciate the differences and learned to appreciate things here in America as well. In one sentence, I learned that I love America and wouldn’t want to stay anywhere else for an extended amount of time.

What was one of your favorite parts of your program?

My favorite part of the program was being able to explore outside of the classes. After classes, our group would go out and visit different coffee shops, parks, restaurants, and we even went to an Opera.

What advice do you have to future study abroad students?

I would tell them not to expect everything to be perfect and everyone in your group to get along. In my group, we had some people who didn’t get along with each other. However, I didn’t let that affect my experiences and time while there. So if you encounter situations where everyone isn’t getting along, that is OK. Make sure you still make the most out of your time there.

How were your classes abroad different than if you would have taken them at NC State? Did you take any field trips or do anything outside of the traditional classroom?

The classes were taught completely in German, which was very hard getting used to. Although, we took many excursions to places that we heard about in class and got to see them in person. One example is the Kirche am Steinhof. That was church that was built by the famous Austrian architect Otto Wagner. He built it with features beyond his time to accommodate for the mentally ill.

In what ways did your identity have an impact on your experience abroad?

It didn’t. You don’t see many Black people in Vienna. However, that didn’t affect my experiences at all. I didn’t feel discriminated against or encountered any racially fueled disputes.

Is there any advice you would give to other students who share your identity?

I would say to enjoy your time there. Some people are prejudiced and some people aren’t. I personally didn’t experience anything like that, but if you do, don’t let it effect your time there because that one person doesn’t represent the country you are in.

Would you do it again?

Absolutely. Everything about the trip is an experience. The plane ride there, the journeys you take when you get there, and the plane ride back.