Studying in Melk, Austria
During the 2011-12 academic year, five our our students will be studying in Melk, Austria for the full year. Below are just a couple of their monthly updates about their experiences. We encourage you to read ParentTALK, the school's monthly newsletter, to see additional updates throughout the year.
As the new school year is approaching, instead of pondering the normal things like Monday’s Prep Talks in the Weber Center and morning prayers before the first class of the day begins, the latest music and movies, I’m worried about my first plane flight, luggage, customs and my host family. As I am trying to calm my nerves down, I get a big rush of excitement, for being in a new country and environment, new teachers and classmates, becoming independent learning that I can’t call home to mom and dad if something goes not according to plan. I feel like its college, but two years sooner and it’s in a different country with a language that I am not comfortable speaking in. I may feel a million different things, but there are two feelings that dominate the rest: fear and excitement. Not many United States citizens say they had the opportunity to study abroad in high school like I will be able to say one day. I believe I am extremely lucky to be going to such a great school such as Saint John’s Prep that offers me these advantages. To go to Austria has been my dream since the 5th grade. Austria is a hard decision for every student to make, and an even harder sacrifice, for every family to make. But as students who have gone in past tell me, it is worth every fear you have in the beginning and worth every moment of homesickness till the end. As my German Instructor, Herr Sack says, “Homesickness isn’t that you’re missing your home, or your family but simply your daily routine.”
This summer, the day of the Melk Reunion, Jane Schmanski, Allyson Wenner, Alli Kremers, Abbi Kremers and I have decorated the traditional Melk Rock that is located in front of the new Middle School. Because we are the first all-girl group, we painted it the brightest pink we could find thanks to Wenner’s Hardware, who donated the paint. With that complete, and bags packed, we are ready to spend the 2011-2012 school year abroad in Melk, Austria.
As we are discovering the ways of our Austrian friends and families, we are also beginning to settle in our homes away from home and become part of our host families. We are grateful to our families at home and abroad for this remarkable opportunity and want to thank Herr Sack and SJP for making this all possible. We are enjoying all that the Stift and Austria have to offer! During this first month, we have visited two castles: Burgruine Aggstein and Schloss Artstetten, floated down the Danube, passed the remains of King Richard the Lion Heart’s castle, seen the terraces of grapes along the Wachau, went swimming and rowing in the Danube, went to Melk soccer games, who are now 6-0 (the best they have ever done) and much more.
When you ask any of us what our favorite thing about Austria is you will get the response of “food”, the real authentic Austrian foods and breads are fabulous! We also visited Maria Tofel, out first European church (besides the Stift) that we have seen and it blew our minds away! With all the detail that went into building it, the paintings on the ceiling, everything! I definitely recommend for anyone coming to Melk and the surrounding areas to visit Maria Tofel. Tueffners is, so far, our favorite hangout. On the hot days, we enjoy their amazing homemade ice-cream, and on the cold days, we sit inside with a cappuccino.
With all this fun we are having in Austria we are still thinking of our friends and family back home. I can definitely say that there are amazing things here in Austria that I wish my brothers or my parents could be here experiencing with me.