Symposium: Austrian-American Studies and the Future of Study Abroad in Austria

Symposium Schedule

All sessions will be hosted at the University of Redlands Salzburg campus at Mönchsberg 21. 

You can reach Mönchsberg 21 on foot via the stairway at Reichenhallerstraße. If you would like to avoid the climb, you can walk from the Museum der Moderne, which can be reached via elevator from Gstättengasse 13. Or, you can take a taxi from your location, bearing in mind that some taxi drivers may refuse the route. If they are unfamiliar or reluctant, you should suggest that they approach from Müllner Haupstraße and assure them there is no bollard preventing access.

Thursday, June 9

Morning session (9-11:00): Thinking Outside the Box in Theory

  1. Integrating Study Abroad in Austria into Non-Language Curricula (Edgar Landgraf, BGSU)

I will briefly discuss opportunities and challenges the integration of a study abroad in Austria component present for programs like Communication Studies, European Studies, History, POLS, PPEL, or Tourism. The hope is that the roundtable can discuss how to align course offerings with curriculum requirements, how to overcome administrative hurdles, how to expand excursion programming to add value to majors and minors in these areas, and more generally discuss how to make experiential learning components abroad appealing to students and faculty with limited or no proficiency in a second language.


  1. Intercultural Competence Education in Study Abroad – Trends and Plans for a Cooperative Format (Ivett Guntersdorfer, BGSU)

It is common knowledge that intercultural competence does not develop automatically while students spend time abroad. In the past decades, intercultural education has become an integral part of many study-abroad programs. After an introduction to current trends in intercultural education in the study-abroad context, we will explore how to develop a cooperative online certificate program in intercultural competence for study-abroad students from all disciplines. 


  1. Transatlantic Race Matters: Decolonizing the German Studies Curriculum in the Study-Abroad Setting (Christina Guenther, BGSU)

How can we serve minoritized students from diverse backgrounds and adjust our curriculum, so that they can thrive in the study-abroad experience? In Diversity and Decolonization in German Studies (publ. 2020), Regine Criser and Ervin Malakaj emphasize that the non-white student population at U.S. colleges in the next two decades will increase significantly. In their words, “attending to inclusivity and diversity via decolonization is an ethical obligation and an existential imperative.” In this presentation, I will explore how we might begin to address more effectively both diversity and decolonization in terms of our study-abroad curriculum and in the way we structure our study-abroad experience. 


Coffee Break: 11:00-11:30


Gathering/Reflection Session (11:30-12:30)

A time for open discussion among all participants based on the morning’s panel


Lunch: 12:30-13:30


Afternoon session (14:00-16:00): Thinking Outside the Box in Practice

  1. Salzburg for Beginners (Nikhil Sathe, Ohio University)

My presentation responds to the current need of my university’s study-abroad program, which in its next iteration will need to shift toward students with lower level or beginner language skills and will thus need a course that is taught primarily in English, in addition to the language courses. My presentation will thus outline a course that offers an introduction to Austrian culture and society that is based on a semester long stay in Salzburg and will use this location as its springboard and focus for most course material.


  1. Reading Vienna (Jacqueline Vansant, University of Michigan-Dearborn)

I will present an outline for a course I taught in 2016 during a Fulbright Semester in Vienna, which could be taught in German or English. If taught in German to non-native speakers, it can be adapted to an appropriate language level. I will present the three components of the course with examples: a) readings; b) reading the city as text; and 3) a final group project and paper. While the readings had a Vienna focus, it would possible to adapt this to “Reading Austria,” “Reading Salzburg,” or “Reading Graz.” After a brief presentation of the three components, I will provide a guide to the exercise of “reading the city as text” and an example of a reading with accompanying exercise. 


  1. Authorized Austria (Geoff Howes, BGSU)

Changes in German studies and study abroad need not mean that writer-in-residence or guest-scholar programs should be discontinued or not introduced. I will present an outline for a course in which BGSU’s Max Kade Writers in Residence introduce students to Austria’s rich culture, history, and society by reading selections from their own works and texts by other authors. The course should be an imaginative tour of Austria through native eyes for anyone who plans to study or has already studied in Salzburg. It is a proposed modification of the courses that our guest authors have been offering at BGSU since 1986. The outline will guide the teacher in fulfilling course outcomes while leaving content and method open to creative approaches. Readings in English translation, or in German for those who can; discussions in English.


Kaffee & Kuchen & Klatschen: 16:00-17:00

Coffee reception and reflection on day’s presentations.


Friday, June 10

Morning session (9:00-11:00): Critical Tourism and Sites of Trauma in Austrian-American Travel Courses: A Pedagogical Roundtable (Hosts: Sharon Oster & Wolfgang Schmutz, University of Redlands, René Horcicka, University of Portland)

A roundtable in which we who engage in experiential learning explore questions of ethics, pedagogical aims, advantages, and challenges of studying emotionally-challenging texts, then traveling to related sites in Austria. As case studies we have:

  1. A University of Redlands English May term travel course in Salzburg, which involves studying Holocaust memoirs and memorial culture, then visiting Holocaust memorial sites in Austria Germany, and the Czech Republic, including the Mauthausen Memorial and Concentration Camp and the subcamp at Gusen.
  2. A semester-long course Austria in Europe: History, Identity and Memory, in which visits to Mauthasen Memorial, Hartheim Castle, and various memorials to victims of wars and genocides throughout Austria, Hungary, and the Balkan states are included.

We hope to articulate and explore the profound questions these courses raise by centering sites of trauma and how they are remembered, contested, and memorialized. We must consider, especially, how American students of diverse backgrounds will encounter these memorials and in what ways they may resonate with American memorials and contexts.


Pause: 11:00-11:30


Reflection on morning session: 11:30-12:30

What are some emerging best practices for addressing these sites in our teaching? How do these sites resonate within a trans-Atlantic context and at this particular moment in American politics (rising anti-Semitism, the BLM movement and the accompanying backlash, the debate over monuments and American history)?


Lunch: 12:30-13:30


Afternoon session: 14:00-16:00

A guided walk and discussion amongst all participants of memorial sites in Salzburg and the pedagogical opportunities and challenges they present


Saturday, June 11


Morning Session (9:00-10:30): Not on the Mayflower: Austrians to America (Joseph Magedanz, University of Redlands)

A seminar-style discussion explores the value of immigrant narratives in study abroad courses in Austria, using a semester-long course (of the same title as the session) as a case study. Framed by the trans-Atlantic flow of people, ideas, and resources, this course will better prepare students to distinguish among different ways people make sense of the world around them (fulfilling one of the gen ed requirements of the University of Redlands). By first exploring the experiences of Dietrich Bostiber’s own immigration experience and then those of selected other Austrian immigrants from the past few centuries, and then finally digging into their own families’ immigration stories, students can make comparisons of others’ and their own experiences and hopefully start to make sense of what compels people to leave their familial homes to start a new life in a distant, unknown culture. This examination of others’ immigration experiences and reflection on one’s own family experience will help locate the students to their place in the world and understand “different ways people make sense of the world around them.”


Coffee Break: 10:30-11:00


Walking tour: 11:00-13:00

Walking tour, Stefan Zweig in Salzburg, organized in cooperation with the Literaturarchiv in Salzburg.


Lunch: 12:30-13:30


Afternoon: Open session for all participants

A gathering and reflection on the symposium as a whole.


Any questions can be addressed to:



Host: University of Redlands Salzburg Program

Co-hosts: University of Portland and Bowling Green State University Salzburg programs with generous support from the Botstiber Institute for Austrian-American Studies

Participants: Representatives of study abroad programs in Austria or individuals engaged with study abroad in Austria or Central Europe.


Travel, Accommodation, Meals

Participants will be eligible for a travel grant of $500 if flying internationally. It is expected that participants own institutions will help cover any remaining cost. Travel within Austria will be covered completely.

A room at the Marketenderschlößl (see brochure here) will be made available to conference participants who do not reside locally, free of cost. Alternatively, participants may elect to make a reservation at a local guest house or hotel of their choice, at their own expense.

A continental breakfast, cafeteria-style lunch, and afternoon coffee service will be available June 9-11. Group dinners will be organized for each evening on an opt-in basis.