Hatter volleyball junior Morgan Pautsch missed the first four days of fall practice, but she had a pretty good excuse.
Pautsch was one of 40 Stetson University School of Business students who participated in the Summer Innsbruck Program, a six-week session of courses taught at the University of Innsbruck in Austria.
“It was such a great experience to be able to take classes in a different country,” Pautsch said. “Austria is completely different than the United States. I knew it was going to be different, but you really have to experience it firsthand to fully understand the culture.”
A native of California, Pautsch had never been out of the country before, but she had the opportunity to travel throughout Europe for a couple of weeks with her mother and sister before heading to Austria.
“We went to London, Paris, Rome, Florence, and then they dropped me off in Innsbruck,” Pautsch said. “It was nice going from America to London first, because it was still an English speaking country. The biggest change was going from London to Paris. Obviously they speak French and not very much English, so that was pretty different.”
Once she got to Innsbruck, Pautsch took two Stetson University courses, an Education seminar with Dr. Mercedes Tichenor, and a Business Statistics class with Dr. John Tichenor. Credits for those courses helped fill requirements for her General Business major.
After hitting the books hard during the week, Pautsch and her classmates were able to travel around Europe on the weekends, usually by train. The widespread use of public transportation was one the the cultural differences Pautsch observed during her time in Austria.
“Everyone is very active,” she said. “It seems like they are walking or biking everywhere.”
Pautch said learning to speak a few German phrases went a long way in being able to communicate, but a lot of the local people spoke English as well.
She was also able to keep her volleyball skills sharp despite being so far from home.
“I got to play a couple times at the sand courts close to where our housing was, so that was awesome,” Pautsch said. “I also joined a gym in Innsbruck to improve my strength for the upcoming season.”
When Pautsch returned to Stetson after nearly two full months abroad, she was greeted with big smiles and a plethora of hugs from her teammates.
“I was gone for so long and eager to get back, and to have a fresh start to the season,” Pautsch said. “Just hearing such good things from others about how practice has gone so far, I was definitely really excited to get back.”
Pautsch will do some more traveling later this month when she and her Hatter teammates head to Wyoming to open the 2013 volleyball season at the UniWyo Invite.