Tag Archives: Studenten

A Special German Class – Our Visit in the Parliament

Two weeks ago on Thursday we had a day off because a religious holiday, Corpus Christi. It was up to us to decide whether we want to have an extra class on a Friday or just do something special together. We chose to visit the Parliament House on the Ring and we didn’t regret it.

First, a few words about the Austrian political system:
Austria is a democratic republic. It has 9 counties (one is Vienna) and people have the right to vote from the age of 16. Vienna is the capital so the ministries, the Parliament and a lot of important authorities are here. There are 183 representatives who are discussing the law. They belong to 5 main parties: the SPÖ, ÖVP, FPÖ, Neos and Die Grünen. The president choses the ministers, the chancellor and the secretary of the state.

Since December 2016 the president is Alexander Van Der Bellen who is the first green president ever in Austria. The elections didn’t go smooth though. Van Der Bellen won in May but the votes were counted too early so they had to repeat it in December – and he won again.

The building of the Parliament was completed in 1883 and has a Greek Revival style designed by Theophil Hansen. In front of it there is a statue of Pallas Athene, the Greek goddess of wisdom and knowledge. In the tympanum we can see Emperor Franz Joseph wearing a Roman toga.  The interior has the Greek style, too, with the statues, the columns, and the paintings. The doorknobs and the stairs are decorated with snakes, it means wisdom.

The guided tour through the building took about an hour and it was very interesting. We saw where the politicians are working, speeches are held and laws are made. It was in German but our guide tried to speak a little slower – it helped a lot. If you want to schedule a visit, hurry up, in the middle of July they will close, due to renovations, and will only reopen in 2020. Till then, they move to the Hofburg.

Our Class

Vienna is an international city, and you can see this in the Deutschkurs, too. People are from Romania, Iran, Indonesia, Japan, Spain, Mexico, Ukraine and Hungary (me). Different cultures and habits meet every day. Last month there was a woman from Tanzania. I love to hear the stories from all over the world like what their motivation is, how their hometown is or how they met their loved one.

People are studying at the university, writing their PhD, or just trying to find a better job. German is not an easy language and takes hard work to improve.

This is the second week of the course, it started a week later, but at least we had some time to go over everything again. At B1.1 we practice and talk even more, German started to become the part of our lives. I don’t use English anymore in the city and that makes me feel more confident. Though last time we went to a spa the waiter in the restaurant didn’t understand my “school German” so I had to ask for help 🙂

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Why did I chose to learn German?

When I married to a handsome Austrian man it became clear that, some time, maybe not in the very distant future I will have to learn German. Just to be able to communicate with the family or raising kids together.
Well, we were living in California, so I wasn’t very motivated. I wanted to show him that I’m interested in his culture so I started an on-line course but, I didn’t get further than the basics.
The city where we lived was founded by a Swiss man though, and a lot of German people moved there to find their luck during the gold rush. It has a huge German community (from first generation Germans to German descendants), they have an official beer fest, most of the women own at least one dirndl (sometimes more) and Heidi is a really common name. The local Turnverein offers German lessons and they are sold out fast.

When my husband got his new position in Vienna, I was shocked. I knew that without speaking the language I won’t find a good job and I didn’t want to sit at home. So I decided to learn German in all my free time but, I was too worried so I drove to San Francisco instead 🙂 It calmed me down, our moving date seemed far enough. We had only two months left…

So I came to Vienna with a very basic knowledge (level A1.1)
which of course wasn’t enough for anything. We started to look for courses. I wanted something very intensive where I can feel motivated and we practice a lot. My husband found DeutschAkademie, it had really good reviews so we decided to give it a try.
I had to write a test to see which level I could fit in. In March I started A1.2. I knew most of the things already but I couldn’t use them, I recognized the words but they didn’t come to my mind in everyday situations, I mixed up the articles and the “Personalpronomen”.
Our teacher was wonderful. Patient over all 🙂 We were practicing a lot, we were forced to talk, create sentences, use the proper articles.
I absolutely loved it! Slowly, my German started to improve. First I was too shy to talk, what if I mix up the articles or use dativ instead of akkusativ? Well, who cares? Just talk as much as possible and it will get better.

Last week we visited my mother in law again and we could have our first real conversation! I was very proud of myself – also my husband. Hard work really pays off 🙂

Find someone who can support you while studying:

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Semester planning!

friends and studies

The October is coming almost in a week, and this means that the university time starts officially.

Of course some poor students had to be already at the Uni in September: either to study for the coming year or to pass the exams from the previous one. However, it is still very different from what is actually experiencing a student in October.

It is a wonderful feeling when you get to know your classmates, professors, when you are experiencing new offerings from EBN or ÖH (student organizations), new events and parties.

All the clubs are waiting for the moment when they can open their doors for students, who returned from summer vacations full of energy and enthusiasm. The libraries are procuring more and more books and studying materials counting minutes for the first course’s assignments. Mensa is developing menu for everyday’s stream of hungry students.

Sounds like a busy time for everyone, but it is still not about different organizations or services – it is all about the students. It is their time!

They are the main characters of this movie. Students will complain about immediate workload, about their colleagues and professors. Students will also complain about borings events and even more boring lectures. But in reality, they all love this time! They love this period in their lives when you are living in the constant stress and experience all possible emotions to the fullest. It is time of opportunities when the world is open for whatever you would like to try: create a start-up, organize a conference, take part in students’ organizations or just be the coolest guy in the class. This is the brightest time of your life and years spent at the University will stay in your memories forever. So please, get ready for the New Year and make it unforgettable!

Unabhängigkeit

Independence

Today I would like to share my experience as a person who lives independently from his/her parents.

For the whole of my life which is basically 20 years, I have been living with my parents in our apartment in St. Petersburg, Russia. I was completely and totally domesticated. When I was coming back from school or university, there was always a warm dinner waiting for me, nice smile from my mom and interesting conversations about the day. I didn’t have to think about financing myself as there was father who is the main earner in our family and we could go shopping with my mom when we wanted.

Here, in Vienna situation has changed drastically. I was on my own without the support of my parents. So I had to find a place to live, to cook for myself and try not to damage my stomach, to clean the apartment, to organize my days, to find a way of earning at least some money, etc. The list can go longer and longer. I should admit that this independence is attractive from one side. You can plan your own day without consulting with anyone, you are responsible for your actions and words, you feel like you are stepping in a new grown-up life. However, on another side, there is no one near you who can give you advice and help you with serious issues. You are actually on your own.

Do I enjoy being independent? Yes. Do I miss being surrounded by people who make decisions instead of me? Yes. But this is life. People are getting older, more experienced and children grow up. So I am looking forward to whatever I will face in the nearest future while living here in Vienna. Hopefully, the possible difficulties will make me a stronger person, and potential success will make me a better one.

Job suchen!

Strabag, Praktikum, me

 

Every student at some point of their life is in desperate need for pocket money.

Especially, when the city offers so many interesting entertainments. No matter what some people say there are a lot of things to do in Vienna. If the weather is good you can go in different parks and enjoy true Viennese ice-cream, if the weather is worse, you can always stay at some cozy bar and drink a glass of wine or beer. There are so many different museums, exhibitions, concerts and events, that everyone can find a way to spend their money. And let’s add here hundreds of parties for students and youngsters in general.

So one day you realize that it is time either to start saving or earning money.

As the most “traditional way” of saving money for students is to stop buying food, it may be healthier to look for a job. Though the Austrian job market is not that big in comparison to German one, for example, you can still apply for some part-time positions via different agencies or websites. So that is exactly what I have started to do last year. Here are some tips where you can find job openings. Try willhaben.at (a website where you can find everything from used furniture to apartments for rent), karriere.at (that offers also full time positions in different firms), studentjob.at or manpower.at. These are the most well-known databases for possible jobs for students.

However, here comes the difficult part! As you may have learned from my previous blog – German is essential in Austria. Not only these websites are in German, but they also offer the positions for German-speakers. So we are back to the main idea: learn German! There are so many opportunities to get some money for students: promotions, catering, cleaning, etc. Still, you need to have your German at a proper level. To summarize: practice, practice, practice, and the world will be your oyster! Or at least Austria will be your oyster.

So, I guess it’s time for me to go and learn some new vocabulary.

Feiern

Gestern, habe ich mit andere Studenten über Freitag gesprochen. Freitag ist der letze Tag von dem Kurs. Alles wollen feiern weil dieser Kurs sehr gut passiert und am Freitag werden wir zusammen Süßigkeit essen. Ich nehme eine Dose mit selbstgemacht Schokoladenbrownies mit. 😉 Heute gibt es auch die wöchentlich Prüfung: ich muss die Regeln studieren und wiederholen !!!