Welcome to my page, and a look at my semester in Austria!
A lot have happened since I left Norway the 2th of August so I will try to summon it up for you.
Internationale Bodensee Hochshule – Konstanz
2th - 29th of August
I was one month in Germany as a part of my exchange program in Austria. A 76hours intensive German course organized by IBH. IBH is a cooperation between 30 universities and colleges from Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Lichtenstein all located close to Lake Constance.
There was a lot of students joining from all around the world, so I didn’t just learn German but also a lot about different cultures. Something I think is very important when I’m going to work as a teacher.
It was a great month, making new friends, learning German, learning about other cultures, traveling and having fun!
Traveling with my best friend 30th of Aug. - 7th of Sep.
Dornbirn – Innsbruck – Salzburg – Vienna
The day after I arrived in Dornbirn, my best friend came to visit me and my new home before we went out traveling. It was a great week in nice cities, trying to get too know a bit more about the Austrian culture. When I was in Germany I felt that Austria was a bit anonymous, everyone was talking about Germany, Switzerland and Lichtenstein but Austria was often unmentioned. So it was really nice getting to know Austria, or at least the big cities a bit better. I already love it here, and looking forward for getting to know Austria even better!
Visit from my parents 8th - 11th of September
My parents came visiting me the day after my best friend left. They borrowed a car so I showed them around lake Constance before we went up in the mountains. We had some long walks and saw a lot of beautiful nature.
I am really looking forward for starting the semester now, and learn how it is to study in Austria.
Summer sports week – Faaker See 16th - 22th of Sep
I had a very nice first week as a student in Austria. I joined the students from the 3rd semester on a sports week. The location were in the south of Austria.
It was a really nice place right next to the Faaker See and the weather was perfect, around 27° and sun every day.
We were a group with around 50 students, and I got to know some really nice girls already on the train ride.
We were split in five different groups, my group consisted of eight girls. This was nice when we had all the different activities trough the week. Being in a small group is a really good way to learn because you get a lot of time being active.
We did a lot of different things like orientation, tennis, rollerblading and acrobatics. We also had a volleyball tournament and that was absolutely the highlight for me this week. Not the best performances but a very good team spirit and almost everyone was there cheering! It was so much fun!
We also had time for swimming every day. One day we went stand up paddling, it was so nice. Also social evenings with a beer or two, and I got to know so many nice students in this class.
I learned a lot even though the sports courses were in German. I’m going to remember a lot of it and take it with me out in my job as a teacher.
One of the advantages of being an exchange student here in Vorarlberg is that I have ‘hospitation’ and teaching practice in primary school. Firstly, I had a whole week of observation. A good way to learn more about the Austrian school system. Then every week on Thursdays.
There are not many differences between Norway and Austria, but there are some who really strike me and I find them very different from the Norwegian school that I know.
Of course, I can’t conclude or say this is how it is, nothing is black and white and I have only seen one teacher and his class. But after talking with my teacher and other Austrians do I feel comfortable to point out one difference.
In Norway I learned that we teachers are there for the kids meaning we have to see them everyday. See them meaning that they are left with a feeling that someone knows that they are here and that they all are important. Teachers often do it with meeting all the kids outside the classroom in the mornings and shaking their hand as they walk in. We learned that we should know something about their family, their hobbies or pets. In this way, we can ask questions and acknowledge the kids as individual persons. It is important to show them that we are humans and that we respect each other.
I haven’t seen much of this here in Austria. The teacher I am with is doing a good job and I can really see that the kids like him and that
(Photo: me teaching in Nicaragua) they respect him. However, I have never seen him using time directly to build up the classroom environment, talking about what they did in the weekend, talking about being nice or how to behave in the break between the classes.
The relation between the teacher and the children is different, and I don’t want to say that how it is in Norway is perfect, because we can use a lot of time dealing with the children’s problems. So I think maybe the best would be something in between, the teachers shouldn’t do the job of the parents (as we soon do in Norway) but it’s important with a good relation with the children to make sure they have a safe learning environment..
However I have also seen the school system in Nicaragua, and I think the school system in Austria and Norway is very good compered to Nicaragua.
I have also started teaching here in Austria, and I will write a post about that soon.
Teaching in Austria
Every Thursday am I visiting a fourth grade and their teacher. I’m so lucky that I get the experience of teaching in this class. They are all very nice and smart.
The two first lessons I had with them was English. It was difficult, them not being too good in English since they are just 10 years old and me not speaking so good German. Although I had a lot of fun, and the children are very nice.
I also had a mathematics lesson with them, taught them a Norwegian song and started to teach them a bit about Norway.
In one of my reflection lessons in the PH did I set myself a goal of being able to teach in German before I go back home to Norway.
So my two last lessons about Norway, Tønsberg (the city I am from) and Vikings, did I do in German. I must say that I got help from some good friends translating my ‘script’. Therefore, I read most of what I am telling them, but it is a start. I feel I get a bit better every time and when the children ask me something then I understand and sometimes am I able to answer in German.
It is a good experience and it is challenging planning a lesson that won’t be too difficult for me to do in German and still be interesting for the children. My experience is that the children have fun and I’m always pleased when I am finished. But still wishing my German was better.
This is a picture of the class I am teaching. They made them self as Vikings. Every lesson I have now starts with all of us together in a viking ship sailing to a new place in Norway.