Technology brings world to UT


Jan Ross Piedad

Editor’s Note: This is the last in a summer series of short columns from UT students studying abroad.

VIENNA — Here I am, tapping away on my smart phone screen in an apartment in Vienna, Austria. I’m couch-surfing for the weekend and exploring a new city two hours away by train from my study abroad home base in Salzburg. The wonders of technology give me comfort in being able to share this experience with my fellow Longhorns, no matter where we happen to be. I came to my study abroad program as the only student from UT-Austin this summer, and in truth, single representation provided the freedom to be myself in a crowd of 72 other students from a dozen other universities around
the world. 

Connectedness, as I’m growing to learn, describes the human interaction we covet underneath the business of digital networks and applications. This is the kind of phenomenon we try to explain in the academy I’m attending until mid-August, hosted by the Salzburg Global Seminar. The academy teaches working professionals, educators and students of media, seeking to create positive change in the world through greater understanding of the influence of art, print, radio, television and news across borders. Learning from other perspectives and backgrounds, I find it more and more interesting how face-to-face interaction can augment online correspondence. After researching accommodations just for one evening in Vienna, we got to know a few young people working and studying to be teachers who were kind enough to share their space. Just this evening, we wandered into the Popfest music festival and asked an endless number of Austrians their recommendations for places around Vienna. 

It’s one week into this study abroad experience, and I can already tell that by the time I head home, it will seem as if time hadn’t passed by at all.

Piedad is a journalism junior from San Antonio. Follow Piedad on Twitter @janjourn.