Bulldog Bites

News and Views from the University of Redlands

Reflections from Salzburg alumni travelers

Celebrating more than six decades of the Salzburg Semester Program, 28 University of Redlands alumni and friends recently completed a travel adventure to Prague and Bohemia, followed by a river cruise down the Danube River. The trip ended in Salzburg, Austria, home to the University’s international campus, and included Bulldogs whose class years spanned more than 30 years. 

Below are reflections from three alumni, some of whom participated in the Salzburg Semester as students, on their travel experiences: 

Susan Bartley Lea ’68  

As soon as I heard about the Salzburg trip in fall 2019, I immediately signed up. Many of my friends and roommates had participated in the Salzburg Semester, and I knew I had missed a wonderful opportunity (as a Spanish minor, I studied in Guadalajara my senior year during the inaugural interim semester). 

The trip with U of R was memorable in every way. The three leaders [Interim Vice President for Advancement Gabrielle Singh, Professor Allison Fraiberg, and Associate Director of Major Gifts Ali Roedl] were awesome, and our congenial group was very compatible. Everything was very well organized, the AmaLea cruise ship was an outstanding way to travel, and the numerous sightseeing tours were informative. My husband, Bob, and I wanted to make the most of this opportunity, as this was our first time back in Europe together since 1980. Of the places we visited, Vienna and Salzburg were the only two cities I had previously been. Seeing so many new places was great, and I enjoyed each one. 

Since 2004 I have been on five river cruises, and I can honestly say that this was my favorite. Much of that has to do with the fact that it was a U of R travel group. I worked in the travel industry from 1971 to 1986, so I know what it takes to plan a successful trip. Everything was perfect, in my opinion. We enjoyed it so much that we hope there will be another opportunity to travel on a U of R sponsored trip in the near future—we will definitely be interested in going, no matter where it is! 

Deanna Dechert Passchier ’61  

This experience brought back memories of the original five-month Salzburg study I enjoyed in 1960 with Professors Gaustad, Brown, and Moreland, plus our local Frau Doktor Meierhofer, our German language professor. [Meierhofer] holds a special place in my memories as she gave private German lessons that, along with the support of Professor William Umbach, prepared me for teaching high school German. Visiting 13 countries in person was the very beginning of my love of international travel. 

Three fun and erudite women [Singh, Fraiberg, and Roedl] led this reunion. As my husband and I have been back several times, we also chose some side trips to visit friends at a soccer match in Prague, The Prater in Vienna, Madame Tussauds, and the Berlin TV Tower with a rotating restaurant. Three weeks of great weather added to our enjoyment! 

Eight of the nine Delta Kappa Psi sorority sisters on the trip had traveled together previously. I was the sole 1960 Salzburg Semester representative but never felt lonely. The Marketenderschlössl is a great place for all future U of R students who are lucky enough to get the Salzburg experience. 

Bill Kennedy ’70, excerpted from the last entry in his travel journal 

I return from our Salzburg odyssey, having met the heroic hearts of the many who shared the journey. From the perspective of my life bookends, I can see that there is still much I can do before fading into the sunset. Perhaps, I can work to preserve the Salzburg Semester, this crucible of learning and grace, so that others might find their way. I can mentor students setting out on their own magical journey and remind them to keep a journal. I can help to defray the travel costs of students entering the Salzburg semester. To do these things, I must tap into that “one equal temper of heroic heart” that sustains us in our dreams and actions, just as the English poet Alfred Lord Tennyson so eloquently described.  

Though many of us had never met before the trip, it still felt like we were traveling with friends. We shared the common bond of being “Bulldogs” who had a transformative experience in our Salzburg Semester. It mattered little that our individual experiences were decades apart. 

Traveling with professors who could share their insight about the places we traveled was unique. While other excursions have guides who can tell you what you are looking at, Professor Fraiberg could tell us why it was important and how it connected to historical, cultural, and economic events. This added dimension to our excursions was reminiscent of our Salzburg Semester so long ago. 

Gabrielle [Singh] and Alison [Roedl] took on the weighty task of herding and caring for the needs of everyone on the trip as it wound its way through five countries with scores of stops. They revived connections with the University and the Salzburg program. Like the angels that they are, they spread love throughout the trip, binding us, past and future, to the University we love. 

Learn more about the Salzburg Semester program.