I realized that I never explained what I’m doing in Vienna and why I want to learn German! I just started an internship with an NGO called Women Without Borders/Sisters Against Violent Extremism (SAVE), and in my work for them, I mostly do research and write grants. Women Without Borders and SAVE are both really cool organizations–Women Without Borders focuses on empowering women to participate in civil society and to be part of decision-making processes around the world. You can see our website at: https://www.women-without-borders.org/.
SAVE is also a very interesting and unique organization. It is the first counterterrorism platform in the world, and we work to develop ways for women to be involved in efforts against violent extremism. The approach we take emphasizes long term prevention and deterrence–tools of “soft power”–rather than military force. We envision strategies in which women fight violent extremism on the ground in their roles as wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters. This is a fairly new organization, and you can see our website here: https://www.women-without-borders.org/save/.
We work with women from all around the world, including Northern Ireland, the UK, Spain, Pakistan, Yemen, Palestine, Israel, India, Sri Lanka, and of course Austria. We are hosting a major working conference at the end of this week to brainstorm new and innovative ways for women to be involved in various ways and in their differing capacities in their homelands. I’m really excited about all of our work.
So back to why I need to learn German–originally, I intended on staying only three months in Vienna, and my work doesn’t really require German. However, now I’ve been offered a full-time job to start immediately after my internship, and the language most often used at work is usually German. I hate not knowing what’s going on, so that’s incentive enough to learn German, but now that I’m actually staying here for a long time I am doubly motivated to learn German so I can make some friends! I think it’s really important to learn German to be part of Vienna–you can get along with just English, but it’s not really comfortable, and you’ll be missing a lot.