Why I chose Deutsch Academy?

Learning Deutsch

When I came to Vienna, at the end of January 2018, I had passed A1 level Deutsch course in my country, Bulgaria. Learning the language was and it is my biggest priority. I think this is fundamental for the proper integration in the local community. During the first two months, I wanted to dedicate my time to recap of my A1 knowledge and to choose the best school to continue. I have made online research for Deutsch language courses and selected a short list of the best ones. My criteria was optimal time and duration, reasonable price and easy accessible location.

Deutsch Academy

When I visited for first time Deutsch Academy, I felt immediately the positive vibe of the place. The corridors were full with people from all around the world who want to learn German language. Even it was rush hour there was no stress or long waiting, everything happened quickly. The girls in the office are just amazing! I really loved how they do their job – with attention to every student and smile on the face. They speak perfect English so the communication is easy and smooth. When is your first time in the Deutsch Academy you should make an entry test so they can offer the most suitable level. I think the test is quite accurate, I have entered in A2.1 (which is perfectly fine after A1 in Bulgaria).

Details

The cost is 270 euro for one level (=one month). You can pay cash on the desk or via bank. The duration is 3h with 15 minutes break. There are different options for timing, I chose 11:45-14:45 (I feel my brain fresh in the middle of the day:) The groups are made of up to twelve people but my experience till now (2nd month) is that always finish less students. Location is one of the best possible in town – in front of the Opera. Easy accessible by U1, U2 and U4, station Karlsplatz.

Breakfast in Vienna

How about a Kipferl? What I once thought to be an Austrian imitation of the lighter and flakier French croissant is quite possibly what inspired it. There are several variations of the Kipferl, all of which must have the iconic crescent shape. It is believed that the crescent shape was used as a way to celebrate the defeat of the Ottoman’s during the Ottoman siege of Vienna in the late 1600’s.

Where can you find these delicious pastries!? Well, they are at almost any bakery that you could walk into in Vienna. I chose, however, to go to Kaffee Monarchie. This café is in the 19th district and is known for serving simple yet traditional Viennese style breakfasts including a Kipferl with bread, jam and honey. If you come early enough you can get one of their breakfast combos with the choice of a coffee, tee or hot chocolate.

 

 

https://www.kaffee-monarchie.at/

Greetings!

My name is Alysha and I am about to embark on my first intensive German course and I am excited to do it at Deutsche Akademie! I am from the United States and moved to Vienna to study for my master’s at the university of BOKU. My knowledge of the German language before my arrival can be boiled down to a few lyrics that I remembered from listening to Rammstein when I was younger. After having been in Vienna for 6 months now I have managed to learn the basics.

The German class that I took through the university is what has helped me the most. However, as much as I enjoyed the course, I couldn’t help but feel a bit defeated by the slow pace of learning. Meeting only once per week over the course of several months to learn just one level would take me years to reach any level of proficiency! This is why I decided to start an intensive German course. Follow along with me to track my progress and learn about Vienna from a student’s perspective

Moving to Austria

I explained in a previous blog why I decided to take a German language course. So, I thought for this entry that I should explain why I came to Austria to begin with. I decided to come to Austria to study for my master’s degree. When I tell people this and where I come from a series of questions usually follow: “Is organic farming not offered as a course of study in the U.S.?” – it is. “How can you study here if you don’t know German” – the program is taught in English. “Why did you choose Austria?” – Good question! Usually I answer the last question by explaining how I wanted to be immersed in another culture, learn a new language and understand sustainable food systems from a more global perspective. All of which is true! However, one of the biggest reasons for me was that I couldn’t afford to study in the U.S. The tuition for one semester at BOKU costs less than my books alone had cost me for one semester in my undergraduate studies. I waited for 5 years after my bachelor’s degree to pursue a master’s because I couldn’t financially rationalize it. That was until I saw that Austria and several other countries in Europe were opening up their universities with free – low tuition fees for non-EU members. So, with this I end by saying “Thank you!” to Austria for allowing me to study here affordably!

https://www.boku.ac.at/en/

 

 

Picnic am Donau

Picnic culture

The practice of  picnic, described by some sources as “an elegant meal eaten out-of-doors” has its roots back in the European culture. After the French Revolution in 1789, royal parks became open to public and picnicking became popular activity among newly enfranchised citizens. The reflection of Picnic in art is tremendously wide: from fine paintings (Manet) to Oscar winning movies (1955).

Nowadays, Vienna

I have to admit that I was really happy to discover that in Vienna there is strong and good-vibe picnic culture. A lot of people use every sunny day to chill in the numerous gardens and parks. Of  course, during the weekend is more busy, but honestly you can see a lot of people during weekdays too. Stadtpark, Schönbrunn, Prater, Belvedere, Donau – a lot of options for the people in Vienna.

Donaustadtbrücke

Loving all the mentioned options, I would like to start with area around Donau. This is the city part around Danube river with its belonging park. Both sides of river are great for picnic! You can choose depending on how much sun:shadow balance you prefer. The area is allowed for dogs and that makes the place, automatically better if you have a dog. The grass is soft and the ground is clean. On the one side of the river there are open air barbecues, they can be booked in advance. There are also easy accessible and clean toilets, which makes the area nice for ladies.

Location and tips

You can go easy am Donau for picnic  by U2, station Donaustadtbrücke. Few picnic expert tips: bring re-usable glasses and plates – this is not only eco friendly but also very beautiful and set-changing detail. Use portable cooling bags for keep your drinks fresh for longer. Prepare light and easy-eating finger food such as Julienne Carrots and Paprika, Tzatziki salad, Humus and Fladen Bread.

 

Lobau – Forest in Vienna

Lobau is one of my favorite places in Vienna in summer. It is that forest in Donauinsel called Lobau.

How to reach there?

You have connectivity in 3 metro lines to Lobau – U2 Donaustadtbrucke, U1 Donauinsel, U6 Neue Donau. If you prefer walking in the forest then you can either choose the U2 or U1 line stops. If you would riding through a bicycle then you can choose any of the stops.

I personally prefer starting from DonauInsel in bicycle. You can carry bicycles all through the day on weekends or on holidays in the metro lines. But on week days you are not supposed to take the bicycles in metro trains till 9 AM in the mornings and from 3 PM to 6.30 PM in the noons.

I usually take my bicycle to Donauinsel on a weekend day in the evening and start riding towards U2 line. That is the direction opposite to the Kahlenberg.

There are many cycle paths on both sides of the Donauinsel river. Also you can either ride along the shore of the DonauInsel canal or ride between the trees in the forest. The main Donau river runs between VorgartenStrasse U1 line and Donauinsel U1 line. A little part of the river is let to form the Donauinsel canal.

There is a dangerous point in the very end of the cycle trail. And this where you can see the water from the main river is let to form the Donauinsel canal.

Lobau

DonauInselCanal

Geben, Stellen, Legen vs Bleiben, Stehen, Liegen

In our class we are taught an important concept for A2.1 level called ‘wechsel präpositionen‘.

In Deutsch there are certain prepositions which take Akkusativ case always and there are certain prepositions which take Dativ case always. And there are some prepositions which can take either Akkusative or Dativ.

The prepositions which take either Dativ or Akkusativ are called wechsel präpositionen. They are as in the below picture.

WecheselPrepositions

As the picture shows if you can frame a question as ‘Wo‘ meaning ‘Where‘ for a given statement then that statement is supposed to be in Dativ.

If you can frame the question as ‘Wohin‘ meaning ‘Where to‘ for a given statement then that statement is supposed to be in Akkusativ.

There are 3 verbs namely geben, stellen, legen which will take Akkusativ. And the corresponding verbs bleiben, stehen, liegen will take Dativ.

StehenDativStellenAkkusativ

GebenStellenLegenAkkuBleibenStehenLiegenDativ

Shopping Malls in and around Vienna

There are a number of shopping malls in Vienna. I love 3 of them in particular.

DonauZentrum :

This mall is situated right in front of the U Bahn station Kagran in Vienna. The mall has quite a number of shops enough for the entire family. The mall is so big that even in peak hours you would not feel suffocated. There will be special decorations done during Christmas, New Year. There is a shop called Tiger which we visit often as it is one of its kind.

Relaxing-After-A-BusyShopping-At-DonauZentrum

XMax-Decoration-AtDonauZentrum

DecorationAtDonauZentrum

SCS Mall:

This mall is pretty large that you need an entire day to do your shopping and window shopping. This mall is outside Vienna. You can either take the Baden train from Vienna Karlsplatz and get down at the station Vösendorf. There are many intermediate stops in Vienna before it reaches Vösendorf. Achtung ! This mall is just 1 station away from Vienna zone 100 which means you need to buy a ticket of 1.70 Euro from Vienna core zone to Vösendorf. If you don’t have a zone 100 pass or ticket then the charge would be 3.90 Euro (extra 2.2 Euro for core 100 zone). Alternatively you can take the free SCS shuttle bus from the U6 last station Siebenhirten. I usually take this free shuttle bus while going and catch the train while coming back. The ride from Siebenhirten is only 10 minutes to the mall. Note the timings of the last bus from the mall in case you would need to use it.

SCS-Mall-Decoration-At-Xmas

G3 Mall:

This is another mall which is outside Vienna. This is not as big as SCS mall, but has most important shops. I have been to this mall only using the free shuttle bus from Floridsdorf. Floridsdorf is in U6 metro line. The bus takes approximately 25 minutes to reach the mall from Florisdorft.

Seestadt

This is the last station in the Metro train U2. The journey till Seestadt itself if pretty nice that you could see nice landscapes when in U2 train.

There is a small pond in Seestadt. During summer you can see a large number of fishes in this pond.  There is a bridge over the pond from which you can see the fishes clearly in different sizes. I usually see few kids throwing bread crumbs or bread pieces standing from the bridge. One can also walk down to the pond and sit by the shore; And take a sunbath during the sunset. Usually I see kids taking a bath in summer.

There are few games available for kids in the park around the pond. You can take a relaxed walk around the pond. This is one of the places I visit again and again in Vienna. I sometimes take my bicycle and ride around the region.

Volksgarten

May in Vienna

May is one of the most beautiful months through the year. The spring is in its sublime moment and the Nature is blooming generously. If you are flower & plant fan like me, than you will love Vienna in May. All of the public gardens and parks in the city look like fairytale decor. Splendid variety of colours and aromas are transforming totally the urban vibe.

Volksgarten

In the heart of the city is located one truly enchanting place – the Volksgarten. It is very easy accessible by U3,station Vokstheater, exit Volksgarten. The area is quite wide, including two local restaurants and one big outdoor night club. In May Volksgarten is attracting a lot of visitors due to the famous rose garden inside.

Queen of flowers

Among so many different types of roses, the May roses are outstanding with its aroma and long beautiful blooming. Entering Volksgarden you can feel the divine perfume made by Mother Nature. The wave of rose scents its so strong and non forgettable. In front of your eyes is opening a stunning view of hundreds roses in different colours. Red, pink, purple, yellow, white, creme,orange … so many beauties waving their petals gently.

Afternoon chill

We chose to visit Volksgarten for a Sunday walk and we had great time! The atmosphere is calm and chill. Although there was a lot of people visiting, there was space for anybody to enjoy the roses and make dozen of photos and selfies. The arty and positive vibe is completed by street musicians playing instruments. My personal favourite is a lady with harp- it elevates the experience on another level!

Picnic or restaurant

In Volksgarten you can choose how to spend your time – laying in the soft grass and chilling or try a traditional Schnitzel in the local old school bistro.

Vintage culture in Vienna – Flohmarkt

Vintage era

It’s so cool to be vintage nowadays! In the last decade “vintage” is the leading wave in pop culture, impacting fashion, beauty and interior as well. Except the fact is super trendy, the vintage concept is also eco friendly! Fashion image + environment support – such a great combo!

Austro-Hungarian culture

Vienna was capital of empire and this is reflected in so many beautiful ways. As a strong and important centre, the city is rich in cultural heritage. For example the architecture, which is one of the most mentioned highlights from the tourists, is result from a very intense development of art. Klimt, Shiele and Hundertwasser, such a masters influenced local scene. Other example for long running tradition is the craftsmanship of hats and gloves, definitely  one of the fashion”must”-s here. The aristocrat & bourgeoisie population through the years, added a significant touch to the everyday habits and their utensils. This results in amazing variety of beautiful decor objects.

Flohmarkt

Good news for all vintage lovers: in Vienna this concept of living is more accessible, comparing other countries in Europe. Clothing, decor and furniture, everyday life objects and sophisticated details- you can find everything on the cult Flohmarkt!  There you can obtain really nice things for low price. Every Saturday, since early morning, people from all around the Balkans are coming to sell their vintage treasures.  You can find really rare antiques together with low quality stuff made in China. That’s why it is important to choose carefully and informed. If you keep the bright side and avoid the trashy stuff , Flohmarkt is actually a world full with old school furniture, baroque chairs and crystal lamps, gloves and hats a la empress Sisi. For me Flohmarkt  is very inspiring place to visit and buy nice beautiful things which are full of history.

Rules and location

There is only one rule on the Flohmarkt: never pay the price asked first, always negotiate it. It is all depends of the particular seller and object, but sometimes you can buy on half or even below 1/2  price. The local sellers, Austrian and Germans, are more fair in terms of pricing. They have better clothing also. The location is at U4 station Kettenbrückengasse. Every Saturday from early morning till around 2 pm.