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Steven Sowards

"[I] taught several courses on Balkan history to American students during the 1990s, when the Balkan region was in the news every night. Without the generosity of the program, I would not have had the same grasp on that history ..."

I had the privilege of studying in Vienna during 1977-1978 through the good offices of the Austrian-American Fulbright program. Without that opportunity I would not have been able to complete work on my dissertation topic, dealing with Habsburg foreign policy in the Balkans in the decade before World War I. I spent five days a week in the Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv in the Ballhaus near Minoritenplatz, reading the original cable traffic and diplomatic reports. From time to time I could hear horse-drawn carriages pass by outside the windows, sometimes a band would play during an official state visit taking place down the street, and there was time every day for a quick lunch and coffee downtown. I completed my PhD work a few years later; revised my thesis into a short book; and taught several courses on Balkan history to American students during the 1990s, when the Balkan region was in the news every night. Without the generosity of the program, I would not have had the same grasp on that history, and I would have missed the support and fellowship of my colleagues in that year's cohort (some of whom I am still in touch with), as well as the pleasure of living in a welcoming city and country.

Prof. Steven Sowards was a US Fulbright student of History at the University of Vienna in 1977-78 and later received his PhD from Indiana University, Bloomington. Photo courtesy of Prof. Steven Sowards.

History Midwest Vienna US Student Area Studies