Aussie in Austin: Study abroad student finds locals passionate, diverse

Hailing from “Down Under,” study abroad student Paige Langford has been welcomed to Austin with tacos, cowboy boots and country music.

A senior secondary education and arts major, Langford attends the University of Notre Dame in her hometown of Sydney, Australia — a mere 8,463 miles away. She chose to study abroad this semester for “the college experience,” something she feels that she misses out on back home.

“You don’t get to make those friendships and experience the different cultures at uni, and that’s something that I feel like I get a lot of at St. Edward’s,” Langford said.

Langford has had no trouble getting involved at St. Edward’s University. She has joined Group X, the Multicultural Leadership Board, the theater department and folklorico dance practices. The typical Texan charm has made Langford feel like a part of a larger community.

More than just their positive effects, Langford said that the students at St. Edward’s are unique from her peers in Sydney.

“Everybody has a passion here. They’re either joined with something or doing something or have a political stance or a cultural stance or an environmental stance on something,” Langford said. “Back home, people are really laid back about those kinds of things, and it’s nice to see people are passionate at our age about things that are going to affect them in life.”

Langford has her own passions: other than her involvement in theater, Langford believes strongly in social justice and equality for women.

“At St. Edward’s, there’s an outlet for voices to be heard and action to be taken, and that’s really unique,” Langford said.

Langford is no stranger to international travel — she spent a month in India last year, and has also been to New Zealand, London, and Bali. Next on her list? Langford says she’d like to explore more of America while she’s here and hopes that her travels take her to South America and back to Europe at some point.

But she’s content staying in Austin for the meantime. In fact, her favorite thing has been the food.

“The Mexican food is so great,” Langford said. “We don’t have it back home. Honestly, [my favorite food] is a toss up between tater tots and Torchy’s.”