"The end of the 2018 Spring in Vienna study abroad was an emotional affair. After a rousing dance lesson, the group joined the program leaders and IKI coordinator for a Heurigenabend and enjoyed wine and typical Viennese dishes in an al fresco setting. The tears flowed freely as students made speeches and said their goodbyes to friends, who, as many pointed out, had become like family during their two months stay in Vienna. During their time abroad, the students explored, traveled, learned, played and faced challenges together, in an experience that many said changed their lives and gave them a new perspective.
The Spring in Vienna group greatly enjoyed the coursework, which consisted of language and culture classes. In the language classes, they often had the chance to practice their conversational skills and felt that their fluency improved dramatically. They were fascinated by the many churches and museums that they saw with Dr. Friederike Forst-Battaglia and visited sites such as the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Jesuitenkirche. In addition to their classes, the students engaged further with the cultural life of the city, attending a piano concert at the Musikverein and seeing Die Fledermaus at the Volksoper.
Inspired by their time in the city, the students worked in groups to create final projects that reflected their experiences and understanding of the social, historical and political issues of Vienna. Focusing on architecture and the environment, Noelle Robbins re-designed the UW dorms and Carolyn Knaack reconfigured famous sites in Vienna according to the design principles of Hundertwasser. Isaiah Back-Gaal and Sam Hansen provided a nuanced exploration of gay life in Vienna using an interactive map as a platform. Xindy Yeoh used her artistic talent to paint a picture representing both the positive and negative aspects of Viennese culture. Several students also took it upon themselves to engage in independent projects while in Vienna. Angela Liu obtained year passes to four different museums and spent her free time researching paintings and artists for an article she plans to write. Students who grew weary of city life found rejuvenation in a group trip to Salzburg and Hallstatt. They were fascinated and inspired by the beautiful landscape and took the opportunity to immerse themselves in nature, hiking the cliffs to a waterfall, taking in the panoramic view and swimming in the icy waters of the lake. Joe Semingson loved the serenity of Hallstatt so much he plans to return and even wants to retire there!
The Spring in Vienna group was also very grateful for the support of the Max Kade Foundation. Yolanda Chen used some of her scholarship funds to travel to Berlin, where she practiced her German and explored the culture and history of the capital city. Olivia Nicolas was able to get tickets to the Volkstheater and partook in cultural experiences beyond the scope of the program. They thank the foundation deeply for enriching their experience abroad!"