Keenan Wilson (Class of 2019) is currently an undergraduate student at St. Lawrence University, studying Psychology and Public Health with the goal of earning his Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc) degree in 2023. St. Lawrence University offers an exchange program that is based in Vienna, the capital city of Austria whose history dates back to about the first century AD. Vienna is renowned for its cultural offerings, and the St. Lawrence exchange program’s courses in psychology, history, art, and music take advantage of this unique environment.
Here is Keenan’s reflection:
“This semester I have been studying abroad in Vienna, Austria, through an exchange program at St. Lawrence. When I was a student at ConVal, I took two semesters of German with Frau Concannon. During this time, I was able to gain an understanding for the language but also the areas that speak German as a mother tongue. It was through this course that I gained an appreciation for some of the unique linguistic and cultural differences in Germany and Austria. This experience gave me an idea of many of the possibilities that studying abroad in a German speaking country could offer. When I arrived in Vienna, I was able to place into a slightly higher German course, having taken none in college, due to my courses at ConVal.”
“I have skied my whole life, and during my time at ConVal I was a member of the alpine ski team. My love of skiing that I developed at Crotched and racing at ConVal is another large reason that I am studying abroad in Austria. This deep-seated love of skiing was also a big reason that I chose to study abroad in Austria. Ski racing at ConVal really improved my skiing abilities, and combined with my lifetime of skiing I was set on skiing when I went abroad.”
“Since I have arrived in Austria I have travelled many times to ski in the Austrian Alps. A wonderful train system takes me across the country — Vienna is farther from the alps than you think — to the towering peaks of the Alps. Having skied many times here this winter, I must say that I am extremely grateful that I ski raced at ConVal. I will admit my bias, my amazing mother is the coach of the team, but the skills that I learned racing have given me the ability to ski the craziest of lines on the most beautiful mountains in the world.”
“At ConVal I was also able to work with End 68 hours of Hunger. This was a program that I learned about through my time in the National Honor Society (NHS) and provides an amazing service to our community. I was lucky to be able to work with them stocking food after school. The mission of End 68 is to provide food to those students outside of school hours who may not have consistent access to meals, and I have learned that to bridge this recurring time of food insecurity is extremely important. I was so inspired by the wonderful people that put their time and effort into this group and am very happy to have gotten to know and work with them all.”
“When I got to Vienna, I made the decision to run a marathon. At ConVal, I ran for enjoyment outside of my sports, and always loved taking long runs down beautiful Francestown roads or up the back of Crotched Mountain. Having run a few half marathons, I decided that now was as good a time as ever to run a full marathon. I found out that the Vienna Marathon is on April 24, which is towards the end of my time abroad. I know that many people run marathons to raise money for charity, and when I committed to the Vienna marathon, my mind immediately went to End 68.”
“My time at ConVal prepared me for the amazing experience that I am currently living. The German courses prepared me both linguistically, but also culturally, to fully experience and appreciate this experience. To be able to understand many cultural experiences and also communicate with people in German is something that German at ConVal allowed me to have immediately upon my arrival in Austria. The skiing, both on the ski team and with my wonderful friends at ConVal, gave me the idea to ski abroad and the abilities to take advantage of the Alps. My time working with End 68 hours of hunger inspired me to use my marathon to raise money for an amazing cause.”
“I would also like to say that I would encourage every student who continues their studies after high school to go abroad. This experience is truly once in a lifetime. No matter where you go, the ability to learn about different cultures and see the world is truly amazing. I would also encourage everyone to work with many of the amazing groups, including End 68 Hours of Hunger, that work with ConVal students. These experiences can be very eye-opening and connect you to our community in a way that truly sticks with you.”
To learn more about ConVal’s End 68 Hours of Hunger and to find out how you can support Keenan’s community service run of the Vienna Marathon on April 24 with a donation, please contact email@example.com.