The Austrian Experience

The+Austrian+Experience

We were all interested in participating in the Melk Program for many different reasons: improving our German, experiencing a new culture, living with host families, and keeping the program alive. We were all super excited and we counted down the days until we left, but when the day finally came, we were anxious, yet thrilled to finally leave. We were taken out of our comfort zones and put into a completely new environment. This was overwhelming and exciting all at once. We would like to share with you a little bit about the school, our host families, and our first impressions.

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On the first day at the Stiftsgymnasium, we met our class and went to an all-school mass. When we first stepped into the Abbey, which is connected to the school, were taken aback by the baroque architecture. Our class schedule includes both American classes and participation in Austrian classes. To further improve our German skills, we participate in a couple of Austrian classes. At first, the language barrier is difficult to adjust to, but it becomes easier to understand every day. The teachers come to our classrooms instead of us going to them, and on a normal day of school, we are finished by 1:30 p.m. One of the best parts about the Melk Program is the journeys we have taken and the ones we look forward to. We have already toured parts of Austria and Italy. These trips help us to better understand European culture and become more familiar with our surroundings.

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The moment we met our host family for the first time was completely nerve racking. These are the people we would be living with for the next nine months, so we wanted to make a good impression. They all automatically could tell how overwhelmed we were and did everything in their power to make us feel like we were at home. Every single one of us completely adores our host family. They are one of the best parts about being in Austria. They will do absolutely anything for us, and they helped us to feel at home within their family.

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Going to a new place where nothing is familiar can be difficult, but it can also be the best experience of your life as long as you keep an open mind. We learned this early on. At first we were all very nervous. We were afraid to mess up and have people laugh at us, but we soon realized that everyone understands how different and new everything is for us. Everyone is willing to make us feel comfortable and help us with everything along the way. For example, our program director, Mr. Eichhorn, takes care of everything for us from visas to trip planning, to scheduling our everyday activities. If we ever have questions about school or we need help with anything, we go to him because he’s willing to do anything to help. Everyone has been so accepting of us and we’ve already made so many new memories and friends that will last a lifetime. We all completely agree that spending a year studying abroad in Melk, Austria is one of the best decisions we have ever made, and we would definitely recommend it to everyone.

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Sincerely,
The 2016/17 Amis
Katie Murtha, Greta Pruett, Whitney Wenner, and Liz Wolff