Author Archives: Yuriy Shiyanovskii

Last day of class – Certificate!

The first intensive course from DeutschAkademie (link) is officially complete. The three week course for A1.1 has been a very interesting adventure.  The class is structured extremely well.  Due to the extensive cultural and linguistic make up of the class, the only language spoken during the course is German. Our class had students from Peru, Portugal, Brazil, Armenia, Czech Republic, United States of America, and Slovakia.  We hear our teacher, Ulrike Strigl, address us only in German, even if we partially understand what she is saying. We were constantly exposed to German language and more importantly German pronunciation. Every day for 3+ hours we would hear non stop German language. After only a few days, you knew words in German just due to hearing them on a regular basis.

The overall pace of the class was rather large. After each lesson it is recommended to go over the material and do a little bit of own self study. We had regular homework throughout each class session. The homework helped solidify each class and build on the foundation of the previous lessons. The most difficult aspect of the class was the overwhelming amount of vocabulary that we would be exposed to on a daily basis.  At times it seemed that we were bombarded with new words on a minute basis.  As most of us are very new to the language, our initial vocabulary is quite small. With each day it seemed that the vocabulary of words was multiplying exponentially. As the lessons went on, the vocabulary became less and less overwhelming. Once you have a good foundation of words, each lessons becomes easier to process. Nevertheless, students should be aware of the initial wave of new words and not be discouraged.

At the end of each week, we had a comprehensive exam. The following class, we went over the exam and any potential questions, all in German of course. Overall my personal impression of the pace and the type of the course was very positive. Our teacher was very engaging and facilitated a lot of dialog and practice of the fundamentals. Through this dialog the group interaction drew people closer together. The students were much more engaging with each other towards the end of the course than in the beginning. Thus, we started documenting our interactions together during and after class.

It is now official, we are done. We have received our certifications of course completion, Kursbestätigung. A lot of the group is continuing onto the next A1.2 class, which is a great sign for DeutchAkademie’s retention rate. Most of the students wanted to continue with our current teacher, Ulrike, – a great reflection on her teaching style. Unfortunately, Frau Strigl is teaching a different time slot for A1.2.

Last day, last chance to take some photos together, which of course everyone took advantage of. A lot of selfies were taken once our last class ended. My personal take on the structure of the class is very positive. Before taking this class, I was not sure how I would perform in an intensive class environment. I was pleasantly surprised how well the class structure worked on language retention. I can’t wait until my next course starts, A1.2! I hope my positive experience continues. I highly recommend for anyone who is on the fence about an intensive course to give it a try. You, too, might be pleasantly surprised.


Birthday party during a break

On the 2nd to last day, the german class at DeutschAkademie was going as usual. We were flying through material, time concept disappears all together during the class. We started with going over some of the questions we had for the exam we took last week. Our very knowledgable teacher, Ulrike Strigl, provided us with an exam structure that is pretty interesting. We are required to create a narrative for a given situation. This forces the students to think and construct a story rather than just memorise vocabulary. While at first it was difficult, as time went on, the writing significantly improved material retention.

The class was progressing as usual, until our normal break. A few minutes break to get some coffee/water or use the restroom. While this break was slightly different. One of the students, Rima, had a birthday today. For the first time, our break became a small and short birthday party. The cake was included as well as other snacks.

The cake was delicious, photos do not give it justice. I haven’t had an opportunity to eat breakfast, so for me it was a unique breakfast meal. As you can see the plates and the forks with birthday theme were ready and definitely used. After a unison “Happy Birthday” song, we continued with the class. The birthday girl was happy and so was the rest of the class. With plenty of snacks and available for the rest of the class, it was a fun filled class setting.

There are Kangaroos in Austria (well kind of)

There are many fun things to do in Vienna, if you are city focused. However, there are a lot of fun things to do just outside the city. The city of Vienna is surrounded by beautiful places that can be easily accessed via rail transport (regional trains). There are so many places one can go to hike and explore around Vienna, it would take a while to list them all. However, there is an interesting place anyone can spend a few days wondering around and find something new each day.

A small town of Bad Vöslau (map) is located about 35km south of Vienna, about 25 minute ride on the regional train. While the town is mostly know for being a spa town as well as hot spot of the red wine scene, the town is surrounded by beautiful forests and various hills. If you have a lot of time to spend and feel like relaxing than you should definitely check out the Vöslauer Thermalbad (map). This thermal bath house has been operating since 1873 and has many different pools.

Once you are ready to leave the luxuries of the thermal baths, you can head into the forest by following many hiking trail signs sprinkled throughout the town. Eventually you will end up at the Jubiläumswarte or the Harzberg tower. Constructed in 1898 for the occasion of the 50th jubilee of Emperor Franz Josef I.  The tower provides stunning views of the surrounding area and as well as the mountain ranges around it.  The tower offers a 360 degree view of breathtaking nature as well as full view of vineyards of Bad Vöslau. 

Once you are finished gazing over the horizon, you will find an interesting restaurant next to the tower, serving typical Austrian food. There are seating areas inside and outside. I highly recommend grabbing some coffee and enjoying the outside patio. On the cold day there are plenty of blankets around.  The food is good, the service can be timely depending on how many people are inside. 

Behind the restaurant you will find something unique to the area. There is an actual kangaroo enclosure. While you wait for your food to come out, you can peek behind the building and find half a dozen kangaroos hanging out and relaxing. 

While these animals are probably wallabies, the smaller cousin of the kangaroo, it goes to say that the famous saying of “no kangaroos in Austria” might not be completely correct. 

A quick lunch 5 mins away from DeutschAkademie


If you are looking for a small, healthy, quaint place within walking distance from DeutschAkademie, look no further than Mr. & Mrs. Feelgood. Mr. & Mrs. Feelgood is located at Paniglgasse 22, 1040 Wien (map).

Mr. & Mrs. Feelgood offers an a great variety of delicious meals for people who care about what they are eating. There are many vegetarian, gluten free and lactose free options. There is a weekly menu for vegeterians and non vegeterians. It is very nutrious and super affordable.

Josef, the owner of the restaurant started the place with a simple concept of feeling good after you finished your meal. The feel good feeling remains even after you have left the restaurant. The ambiance and the quality of food attest to that principle.

If you are a student, there is also a special menu and a discount for you. During the lunch rush, the place gets packed pretty fast. Have no fear, if you want to try their delicious food, there is always foodora.

If you are a cheesecake lover, Mr. & Mrs. Feelgood claim they have the best cheesecake in town. It is a rather bold claim, but throughout my dining experiences in Vienna it is pretty spot on! The best part about the cheesecake is that its lactose-free!

Night at the Museum.


I wanted to introduce to an interesting event. After all the intense learning at DeutscheAkademie, it is very nice to take the edge off and relax. There is a unique monthly event happening at Kunsthistorisches Museum (, called the Kunstschatzi (

The Kunsthistorisches Museum is located on the Ringstrasse across from the Naturhistorisches Museum.The event is a monthly party that is usually themed after a particular museum exhibition. It runs from 19:00 to 23:00. Every hour there are themed tours of the different galleries of the museum and for the English speakers there is a special tour at 21:00.

 The main hall of the museum is converted to a dance/lounge area with 3-4 different bar station and a live DJ booth. There are special drinks designed to accompany the theme of the event. The general vibe of the event is very friend and it is a great place to mingle and meet new people. The best part of the museum is the Annual Card (JahreCard) ( For one year you can enter the museum unlimited amount of times and all the Kunstschatzi parties are free for the annual card holders! The regular price is 44 euros but if you are a student and under 25, the price is only 25 euro. For anyone interested in some culture with a little bit of fun, it is a great deal!

The next Kunstschazi is happening on April 17th! See you there!