It is very interesting for me to see how my view of classes and school has changed during my stay here in Salzburg. Topics learned in class, to teachers, to work, to grades. Things are just very different here. We completed the mid-terms about two weeks ago and I can clearly tell the difference between USA and Salzburg. After the midterms, there were quite a few people who didn’t feel as confident about how well they did on their tests and I admit I felt that way for some classes. We got our grades back and not everyone was happy with what they got, but what really interested me was the response from our teachers (we don’t call them teacher). Overall, they were very understanding and very sympathetic to those who weren’t very happy with their test scores. They gave people the option to talk to them in private rather than in front of everyone, which I totally can be very stressful and embarrassing. They couldn’t understand why we were so disappointed with our grades because to them anything above a D was fantastic. Personally, I felt no shame or pressure from them because they very clearly wanted what was best for us and they didn’t want us to fight over test scores. Now, I’m certainly not saying teachers in the US are pressuring or shaming us about our grades, but there’s definitely something different with the teachers’ approach to grades here in Salzburg.
As for the class, the classes I take and the amount of work to do per class are pretty easy. The content of the courses I take are very interesting and fun. The homework is very minimal (depending on the courses you take), the most homework I have for one course is just for my German course. Classes I take include: Elementary German, WWII and Central Europe, Music in the Age of Mozart, and Art and Architecture. I admit that none of these courses go towards my major or minor at DU but I study abroad, I have to take fun courses that I will not have the experience to take again in the United States. If you asked me if I have any regrets taking a course, I would say German, because as someone who took years and years of Spanish, learning German was quite difficult. But, I’m in a predominantly German-speaking country so why not? A favorite class? It would be difficult. I really enjoy the course of the Second World War because, as Austria played a role in the war, it is interesting to listen to an Austrian explain how the war was fought and to learn from a point different views on countries. We went on a trip to a concentration camp last week and while it was a very moving experience, it was also something I will never regret doing. My music class is definitely more fun because we spend a lot of time listening to music and learning about the different types of music by Mozart and those of his time. The art and architecture course is also very interesting because I get to know the many types of buildings built during the Renaissance and Baroque periods. While these courses will eventually go to my electives and I will have to make up my major and minor requirements when I return, I am studying abroad to have a different experience in school and in life. I came here for lessons but why not have fun with them?
Overall, my experience with the courses has been positive so far. My teachers are all very nice and understanding and the workload certainly causes a lot less stress…something I won’t be ready for when I return to America. The program is now more than half done and I’m counting the days I have left before I have to come back! Although I love it here in Austria, I miss my home in the United States very much and I am more and more ready to come back, just like some of the others here. I’ve gotten used to living here, but I miss things from the United States that I don’t have here…like my family and my dog. All I hear these days is people missing their pets. Thanks for reading my post!