by Sarah Gourevitch, Greenheart Travel High School Exchange Student in Austria
Although it varies a bit week to week, a typical week in Vienna is usually quite busy! On Mondays and Wednesdays I have my German class for a couple hours in the evening. I really enjoy my German class and my German’s improved a lot since I started it (Ich wirklich mag meine Deutschkurs und jetzt ist mein Deutsch immer besser). The classroom looks out onto Karlskirche, a beautiful old church surrounded by a park. On nice days, it looks more like a painting than what’s just out the window! It’s also been neat to talk to the people in my German class—people from all around the world who have somehow all ended up in Vienna.
On Tuesday, I have my bass lesson. I’m so lucky to have found such a wonderful teacher here! I’m working a lot on my technique at the moment and it’s really interesting to receive an Austrian perspective. I also work on music for my school orchestra and new solo repertoire during my lessons. Thursday afternoons are when I have school orchestra rehearsal. Orchestra rehearsal is pretty similar to what I was used to in the United States, other than it being in German, of course! During my first months here, rehearsals were a bit intimidating since it was tough to keep up with the German. As my German’s improved, I’ve felt more comfortable in rehearsals—I even speak with the bass section in both English and German now! Still, even when the language barrier was thick at the beginning, it disappeared once we started playing our instruments. On Wednesday afternoons, I often practice with my trio. I play cello and two friends from school are playing piano and saxophone. We’re currently working on our second tango, which we’ll have several opportunities to perform next month!
Thursday evening is time for circus! There are about fifteen teenagers in my circus group. We start out with a warm-up, and then the aerialists and jugglers split to begin training. There’s often a workshop where we are taught a new skill. After that, we can practice skills we already know or teach each other new tricks. There’s a really relaxed, yet hard-working vibe that I’ve found to be common in circus communities—anywhere in the world! Recently, we’ve been preparing for our show, which is coming up in just a couple of weeks. We also have additional practices on Saturday mornings.
Music and circus here have been particularly interesting to me because while my involvement in both are certainly improving my German, it’s exciting to realize that each activity is almost a language in and of itself.
Here are a few photos from other activities I have gotten to experience during my time in Vienna: