Author Archives: Sarah Hiepler


This weekend, I was able to visit the Hundertwasserhaus in Vienna’s Landstraße district. It is an apartment house built by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, a famous Austrian artist. The sidewalk outside the haus undulates, creating an uneven walking space around the building. The façade is painted with various shades of red, orange, yellow, blue, cream and black. It definitely stands out in the traditional Viennese neighborhood! I highly recommend visiting!



Nearly every building in Vienna is beautiful in its own right, but one façade stands out: the Engel-Apotheke on Bognergasse. I walk by this beautiful façade on my way to German class every day. Vienna has been getting colder and colder, so I wanted to pick up some vitamin C to stay healthy on my way home. I entered the beautiful shop and was greeted by a kind woman in German. In my German course, we recently learned how to ask questions. The verb moves to the first position in the sentence, the subject to the second position, and the direct object to the third position. Knowing this, I was able to ask the woman “Hast du Vitamin C?” It felt really good being able to communicate and successfully purchase something on my own, even if it was just a simple question!


Schönbrunn Palace

This weekend, I visited the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna–the main summer residence of the Habsburg rulers. It was no surprise to me that Schönbrunn literally translates to “beautiful spring;” the Palace and its grounds were stunningly beautiful! The building is such an important example of Baroque architecture that it was included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1996. My favorite room was the “Great Gallery,” where they threw magnificent receptions, balls and banquets.

A Fun Café

I’ve been looking for coffee shops and cafes to study my German coursework after class. Traditional Kaffeehäuser (coffee houses) are fancy and not usually “work friendly” or “laptop friendly.” I’ve found a few cafes where I can work but I have a definite favorite: Burggasse 24. It is half vintage clothing store, half café. It has very eclectic furniture and cute decorations everywhere! I sat next to a roaring fire while I ate a delicious peanut butter brownie and sipped on a café latte. I was tempted to buy some vintage clothing but decided to just splurge on the brownie!

Austrian Cooking Lessons:

The other night, my partner taught me how to make a traditional Viennese Schnitzel! I thought it was going to be very difficult but it was actually quite simple (and fun!). We started with hammering a few medallions of pork until they were thin and round. We then coated them in egg yolks and breadcrumbs. After we heated oil in a big pan, we put them in to fry for a few minutes until they were golden-brown and ate them immediately. They were delicious and very easy to make!


Exploring Vienna’s Hidden Gems

One of my favorite movies is “Before Sunrise:” two strangers (an American man and French woman) meet on a train headed to Vienna and decide to spend the day and evening together. They explore Vienna and get to know each other very well. One of the places they go to is a vinyl record store. I did a little research and I found out that the store they go to in the film was not a set but a real store in Vienna! It looked the same as it did in the movie, even though the movie was made in 1995!


November and Christmas Markets

I’m very glad I chose November to take my German course with DeutschAkademie in Vienna! November in Vienna is a beautiful month. The beginning of the month still has mild fall weather and by the end of the month it will have snowed a few times. But the best part about November is that the Christmas markets (Chriskindlmarkt/Weihnachtsmärkte) begin to open. Each market has different booths selling a variety of items. The Punschstands are my favorite part! They serve warm alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks to warm you up while you walk around and peruse the other stalls. You can find stalls selling everything from sweets to Christmas ornaments. The vendors decorate their stalls with Christmas lights and other holiday trimmings which turns the Platz into a beautiful winter wonderland. Some Christmas markets even have ice-skating rinks! I can’t wait to explore more markets next week!


This year I was able to celebrate Thanksgiving with my partner and his family in Vienna! We cooked for eleven people and had a lot of fun! I was able to learn some new food vocabulary while cooking and shopping in local shops. I wanted to bake a pumpkin pie so I needed to find pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, eggs and sugar. We had learned “sugar” and “eggs” the day before in my DeutschAkademie course, so it was easy to find “Eier” in the fridge and “Zucker” in the baking aisle of Billa. I needed to look up the other ingredients in a dictionary on my phone and learned that pumpkin is “Kürbis,” cinnamon is “Zimt,” nutmeg is “Muskatnuss,” and ginger is “Ingwer.” I think it turned out perfectly! Maybe next year, I’ll be able to use a recipe from a cookbook written in German!

In-class article exercise

Most students in my A1.1 course have expressed frustration with remembering a new vocabulary word’s article. Our teacher could sense our uneasiness and created a brilliant exercise. She gave each student three different pieces of paper: a blue “der,” a pink “die,” and a green “das.” She would read through some vocabulary words that we had covered in previous lessons and we had to hold up which article we thought went with the word. In many instances, we were guessing and had no idea which article to use. However, our teacher would come back to the tricky ones over and over again. After a few times, we were able to remember the article correctly! We are so lucky to have a teacher who truly cares about our language learning and listens to our concerns and adapts the class to help us in creative ways. It is the best German course in Vienna.


Article game in class!

I previously wrote a blog post about the importance of learning vocabulary words and their articles plus some tricks that can help you along the way. Last week in class we played a really fun game in class that focused on articles and vocabulary words. Our teacher split us into two teams and split the white board into three sections: der, die and das. Each team had to come up with as many vocabulary words off the top of our head and write them down (spelled correctly!) in the correct section. I was very surprised with how many words we were able to write down off the top of our heads with now word bank! We were even able to correctly place about 90% of the vocabulary words in the correct section. I think this game was one of the most helpful exercises we have done so far. It was also really fun to see the progress we have made over the course of just three short weeks.

German tips

As a native English-speaker, many vocabulary words look familiar. This week, we learned “Laptop,” “Computer,” “SMS,” “Telephone,” “Kalender,” “E-Mail,” “orange,” “pink,” “Papier,” “Metall,” “Glas,” “Plastik,” “Sofa,” “Couch,” “Lampe,” “modern.” Some words are spelled exactly the same in German and English while most differ by a letter or two.

This helps with vocabulary retention; however, the “new” word is not all you need to know. Do not be fooled, you must also know the article (der, die, das) that goes with each word. While I’m going through my vocabulary list, I might not think to spend any time studying “Laptop.” However, don’t consider the word known until you are able to correctly say which gender a “Laptop” is. When my class was learning “Laptop,” we were focusing on how masculine words change when they act as accusatives or direct objects, so it was imperative that we knew which were masculine. Through repetition, I was able to remember “der” goes with “Laptop.” If you need extra practice with articles, I’ve put sticky notes on some objects around the home. I especially think it helps if you have a color-coding system!