Spotlight - Hailey Thayer

Biology Education

Photo of Hailey

Term Abroad: Fall 2018
Country of Study: Austria

What has been your most rewarding experience abroad?

The most rewarding part about studying abroad is all that you learn from your experiences, your classes, your travels. I learned how to cook, to remember that all others come from different backgrounds and will have different perspectives. I became more independent and gained SO much wisdom!

What has been your favorite part about your host culture?

My host culture included 53 countries and five different continents. I ate Persian food made by a friend from Persia, I received advice from a friend from Czech Republic before traveling to Prague for the long weekend, I have played a Hungarian board game with a Hungarian after eating a traditional dish he made that he learned from his mother. In these brief moments and many others like them, I truly experienced that culture. These moments mean more to me than seeing all the touristy attractions. These moments were quite real.

What has been your favorite trip that you took?

A close group of friends all traveled to Budapest. We stuck together like a family and took a million pictures of each other.

What will you miss the most about your time abroad?

I will miss the people who will forever be close to my heart. They were my family. We took care of each other.

What has been most challenging about living in your host country/culture?

The most challenging part of studying abroad was towards the end when I really began to miss my family at home. Now that I am back at UE, I call my parents and brother much more frequently than my freshman year.

What is your best advice for a future study abroad student?

I suggest that you figure out the limit to your comfort zone and crush the wall that separates you from doing that things that you may never again have the opportunity of doing.

Anything else you would like to tell us?

Whatever is holding you back from studying abroad, rethink it. This will be an experience that will allow you to grow.

Photo of Hailey Thayer
These were two of my closest friends from my entire experience. Joanna is my roommate from Poland. We became closer than I ever knew was possible in only four months. The man is Martin or Seehung Lee from South Korea. He was the only guy in our close-knit group we called Breakfast Buffet (it’s a long story). In the background is the river that separates Buda from Pest including the famous chain bridge and the beautiful government building.
Photo of Hailey Thayer
This photo was taken in a place called Saalbach-Hinterglemm. We were the advanced skiers of the group, so we went our own way while the beginners were first learning how to ski. I learned how to ski from my dad when I was young, but nothing has tested my skiing like these mountains shown in the background. I only fell less than five times in two days, but that was enough. I improved quickly when I realized how sore a real wipeout can make you feel.

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