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Back ’11 Working on German in Austria

Leon Back ’11 - I just started my abroad experience the first of March. I will be in Marburg, Germany for the duration of the German summer semester. However, as part of my program, I get to spend about a month in the city of Vienna, Austria, to work on my German. While I’ve only been here for two weeks, I’ve already made some great improvements in my language, or at least feel as if that is the case.

I am staying in a Studentheim, which is roughly a dormitory but has workers that take out our trash and vacuum our rooms, just behind the Parliament building. It is absolutely beautiful. For those of you that know a little about Vienna, this means I am not far form the Ringstrasse. For those not familiar with the Ringstrasse, it is a very important street that has some amazing architecture.

I am currently taking two classes. One meets every week day for three hours and it is all about speaking German. The other is a history course that focuses on Vienna. We meet twice a week for three hour tours of the city. Our teacher is a woman that has her PhD in history and has written all about Vienna. She knows the city like Blix knows Wabash. It is insane how much information she has at her command.
 
After classes, I will sometimes hang out in the cafes. Cafes are everywhere here in Vienna. The best thing is that you can order one drink and then sit for hours and not be bothered. There is no rushing or bothering you. Just sit there and read a while. Do your homework. Ponder life and death. Whatever makes you happy, just don’t feel as if you have to leave anytime soon. Which is wonderful for me, seeing that I don’t like being in my room before 4:00 p.m.. Unfortunately my Studentheim is under construction. The noise can get a bit much, but on the bright side Austrian construction workers start early. Thanks to the jackhammers I never need fear that I will sleep past 7 in the morning on weekdays.
 
I will be leaving here Mar. 26 and it saddens me a little bit. Next weekend we are going to Maribor, Slovenia. I hear it is a pretty little town. Then the weekend after wards is the 26th. So I guess it will be goodbye Vienna. However, then it is time to start classes at Philipps Uni and really get into my studies, with the occasional trips to Frankfurt of course.

In Photo: Back at the Hapsburg Palace in Vienna.