Assignment 6: due by Friday (August 11th) by midnight!

Reflective Musings

1. Dealing with ...?

Studying abroad provides a different experience than merely traveling abroad as a tourist; sometimes leaving and studying in a foreign country is not easy!

a. Make a list of different things you’ve had to learn or adapt to that the average tourist wouldn’t need to deal with.

b. Describe something that was especially challenging to adapt to in Vienna, how you learned to deal with it, and how this learning has impacted your personal growth.

c. Describe something completely unique to Vienna that you adapted to with ease. Were you surprised by how easily you adapted? Why? Please explain.

d. Comparisons: Describe something from your American life that you:
1. can't wait to 'get back to', and
2. something you think you've 'moved away from' due to the many experiences gleaned over the summer abroad.

2. Rethinking Stereotypes

Hafez Adel, a student who studied in Barcelona, Spain, stated:

What we learned is that we know much less about each other’s cultures than we thought. But what we lost in certainty, we made up for in understanding.”   (Abroad View, Volume 11, Issue 2)

a. Has studying abroad caused you to question any stereotypes?
Is there a stereotype that the Austrians or other Europeans hold about Americans that has intrigued, surprised, or infuriated you?
Why do you think this stereotype has developed?
Do you think the stereotype emerged to simply fill a void of cultural awareness, or do you think there are valid reasons for the stereotype?

b. Conversely, are there stereotypes that you hold about the Viennese/Austrians/Central Europeans that have been either dispelled or validated? Please explain, and provide several examples.


3. The power of the word!

Sometimes all you need is a single word that sparks a rich and vivid memory, brings a smile to your day, or pulls you back into a deep place of reflection or contemplation.

Make a list of all the adjectives (at least 10) that you immediately associate with the city of Vienna, or capture the essence of the Viennese people and Austrian culture, and include a short explanation of why you chose each.


4. Connecting the Dots

  1. Have you noticed or experienced things that have provided you a different outlook on global issues? Have you seen, experienced or discussed things prevalent in Austria and other parts of middle Europe that you have been inspired to incorporate into your own lifestyle in the US ?

  2. Also, is there anything you experienced during your study abroad experience (other than better public transportation) that you would want to see improved or changed or added to Richmond and beyond?

  3.  Describe how you think this would benefit or enlighten American society.

5. Incorporating the Study Abroad Experience into your Future

a. If you could do anything after completing your degree, what would it be? (Dream job - may have a title, or simply describe what you'd want to be doing, and where, even if you don't know the exact name of such a job).
b. Brainstorm and jot down all the skills and knowledge that you have gained from being abroad.

c. Now imagine that you are interviewing for this dream job and the search committee asks you these two questions:

  1. “How did studying abroad while at VCU prepare you to become a better global citizen?"

  2. "How can we (our company/organization) benefit from your experience abroad?"

Please provide in detail how you would answer each question.



Assignment 4: due by Wednesday evening (July 26th) 

Personal Exploration

Each of you were assigned to research Vienna prior to departure, choosing 10 places/events/experiences you didn’t want to miss while here. You have also spent two weeks as ‘newly Viennese’, getting acclimated, exploring, learning, reflecting – and have added more things to your list of “must do’s”.

Within the next two weeks, you are expected to visit/experience/participate in at least 3 different activities related to your research, or to your expanded list

Please note that you MUST COMPLETE at least TWO of the activities ON YOUR OWN – not with anyone else from the VCU group, or friends you’ve met at the Uni Wien Sprachenzentrum. Doing things alone is unique from doing things in the safety and comfort of others, and it’s important for you to experience the difference.

The following are the places you chose, included in your original research of 'Top 10's', and are approved as possibilities:

Anthony:  Oberes Belvedere, Josephinum, Heeresgeschichtliches Museum, Nationalbibliothek

Catalina: Narrenturm, Katakomben, Kaisergruft, Friedhof der Namenlosen, Napoleon Hiking Trail

QuinnGalerie Martin Janda, die Zucklwerkstatt, Fälschermuseum, Tiergarten Schönbrunn, Kriminalmuseum, Porgy & Bess

Lucas: Globe Museum, Jüdisches Museum, Stephansdom, Cafe Central, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Naschmarkt

Adam: Heeresgeschichtliches Museum, Naturhistorisches Museum, Chelsea, Schikaneder Kino, Nationalbibliothek

TessaImPuls Tanz performance, Crime Runners, Zeiss Planetarium, Cafe Sacher (Sachertorte)

Jonathan: Wanderweg (Donau - Hermannskogel), Trampolinspringen & Donauinsel, Respawn esports bar, Haus des Meeres

Patrick: Naturhistorisches Museum, Fälschermuseum, Freud Museum, Spanische Hofreitschule, Kahlenberg



Please use the following prompts to document each of the three activities. Include a photo you took while there, or one that best represents the experience:

  1. Explain the physical location/title/name/address of the activity, and the date completed. Include your mode of transportation to/from as well as the ease of reaching the destination.

  2. How did you first discover or find out about this site?

  3. What did you expect prior to going?

  4. Briefly describe what you did/saw/visited, and what transpired.

  5. What kind of interactions did you have on the way there, and at the actual location? [Did you speak with anyone you didn’t know? With whom? How much German did you use?]

  6. What makes/made this activity unique to Vienna? What is/was different about it than something you’ve seen or done in the US?

  7. Did the actual experience live up to your expectations? Why or why not?

  8. What will you remember the most about the activity?

Be sure to entitle each entry as Personal Exploration I, II, III (etc.) and post each under the categories: “Vienna” & “Musings


Assignment 5 - due by Saturday evening (July 29th)!

Your final on-site assignment is to 'entice' others to experience a snippet of your own personal Vienna. Following the same format as New York Times travel journalists, create a detailed 36-hour sojourn for your friends or family or fellow students in Vienna. Use the following link for guidance in terms of format, what to add) photos, map, and timetable and so on:

This assignment should represent the culmination of a month well-lived in Austria. Make it personal and specific to your audience. (Be sure to make it clear who that will be. Of course, your 36 hours will be different if you're writing this for friends or for your grandparents!)

Be sure to entitle this entry as 36 Hours - Vienna and post under the categories: “Vienna” & “Musings




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