Monday 29th and Tuesday June 30th

After the students all spent an exciting weekend with their host families, we started off our Monday morning with a visit to the Hundertwasserhaus, a colourful apartment complex in the heart of Vienna. We then visited the KunstHaus, in which paintings by Friedensreich Hundertwasser are displayed. After lunch, we spent several hours at the Prater, an amusement park in the center of Vienna. The students went on rollercoasters, played arcade games and finally rode the famous Riesenrad (Ferris Wheel), which has become an important landmark in Vienna, and featured in the famous old movie, “The Third Man”.
Today, we spent our day at Schoenbrunn, the Habsburg summer residence. We started off by taking a tour of the palace, before exploring the beautiful palace gardens. Then, students explored the oldest zoo in the world, which is located within the palace grounds.

Thursday June 25th

We started today off at Vienna’s twin museums, the Kunsthistorische and Naturhistorische Museum (Museum of Art History and Natural History Museum). While one half of the group enjoyed famous paintings, sculptures and an Egyptian collection, the other half was impressed by a collection of minerals, asteroids and exhibition on taxidermy. Both museums were opened in 1889 and are housed in identical buildings which face each other on the Maria-Theresien Platz. These incredible palaces and impressive collections are well worth a visit and students had a great time.
After a brief lunch break, students were given the opportunity to travel back in time and explore 2000 years of Viennese history. In the historical masonries of the monastery of St. Michael, a great tour guide, a 5D cinema and various multimedia exhibits took students on a journey through time. Once we had arrived back in the present, the entire group of students chose to use their free time to explore the creepy catacombs of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, before returning back to their host families.

Bella and Emma as Emperor and Empress of Austria-Hungary


Pheobe, Eli, Adrian, Hayden and Bella surrounded by dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum

Wednesday July 24th

This day has been quite the workout. We started off at the Prater, a huge park in the middle of Vienna. There, we rented bikes and were taken on a three hour tour across the entire city. We cycled through the park, along the Danube and around the Ringstrasse, the main street which circles around the old town center. Along the Ringstrasse, students were able to see and learn about the Parliament, Rathaus (City hall), Heldenplatz (Heroes’ Square) and much more. Though we were often worried the weather would turn on us, we made it back to our starting point completely dry after an amazing tour.
The students then enjoyed a well deserved lunch break, before our next physical challenge. We climbed the 343 steep and winding stairs to the top of the South Tower of St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Though exhausting, we were rewarded with a breathtaking view over the rooftops of Vienna. Once everyone had made it back to the bottom of the tower in one piece, the students explored the beautiful interior of the cathedral, before heading home to their host families and presumably falling into bed- at least that’s what I did..






On Heroes’ Square


The famous Hundertwasserhaus


Helga, our tour guide, talking about the Vienna Prater

Tuesday June 23rd

The students spent today shadowing their host siblings at the Wasagymnasium, a High School in the 9th district of Vienna. The day started bright and early at 8am, where the students were given a brief orientation and we discussed some of the cultural differences they had observed so far- interestingly, “confusing Austrian traffic” seemed to be the most striking of these. Students were then given a tour of the school, before joining their host siblings for their classes and then spending the afternoon with them in the city.
Experiencing a day at an Austrian High School was an exciting and at times probably confusing experience for the students. I am very curious to hear what cultural differences they observed today at school, which will surely go beyond Austrian traffic.

Vienna June 22nd

After arriving safely in Vienna on Saturday, the students spent a fun and relaxing Sunday with their lovely Host Families. Today, we officially started our program by going on a double decker bus tour. The group was given a great overview of the sights Vienna has to offer, many of which we will be visiting in the coming two weeks. After lunch, it was time to visit the royal apartments of the Hofburg Imperial Palace to see how the emperors of the mighty Habsburg Dynasty lived. The evening was spent with Host Families, who are doing an amazing job of truly introducing the Austrian way of life and culture to their American students.
I am very excited to be spending the next three weeks with this fantastic group in Austria and Italy. I am sure the students will have an incredible time and make unforgettable memories, all while improving their already impressive German skills, of course!

Double decker bus ride

First day in Vienna

First day in Vienna