My BCA Marburg and Vienna experiences have shaped who I am tremendously. I will never forget the excitement I experienced in the weeks leading up to my flight to Vienna. I remember arriving in Vienna on August 3rd, 2014 excited but just eager to get to Germany! What I did not expect was just how much my time in Vienna would shape my life forever. During the two months in the beautiful capitol city of Austria, I made lifelong friends from around the world and lifelong memories. The obvious one for me was the growth in my German language skills which prepared me for Marburg and beyond. What I did not expect was to fall in love with the marvelous city of Vienna! From the architecture to the art, to the plethora of things to do for fun, Vienna has so much to offer! My personal favorite was die Donauinsel. Being that I was there in August and September, the days early on were hot and sunny. Swimming in der Donaukanal was one of my favorite experiences.
In addition, I loved the pace of life in Vienna! They have a saying, “Wien leben, Wien lieben.” Translated in English means “Viennese life, Viennese love”. I loved the Café culture and in fact fell in love with a restaurant there called Centimeter! Best fries in the world, hands down! Another thing that I did not expect was the amazing people I would meet. I met friends from Croatia, Serbia, Austria, France, Switzerland, Poland, Ukraine, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Russia! While in Vienna, my friend in Poland invited me to his home and I spent a weekend with him in Warsaw! Furthermore, since this January, I have been dating my friend from Russia! This past summer, I spent a week in Russia visiting her. Vienna truly has made a lasting impact on who I am today!
The amazing part of the BCA program is that just when you think you have had all the experiences possible, you have only reached the mid-point. I went out on a limb and decided to push myself out of my comfort zone a little by trying to live in the Collegium Philipinium. It was the best experience I could have ever made! I made lifelong friends there as well and have visited them following my time abroad. Again, I think being there in the fall was a blessing because I could see the beauty of autumn to the Weihnachtsmarkt! I would encourage all who apply for this program to apply to live in the castle, Schloss! Joining the castle gave me more than just friends; it gave me access to primarily native speaking Germans to help my German both in an academic capacity as well as my day-to-day language skills. They consistently pushed me in a respectful manner to use me German at all times and would help my grammar when I desired correction. It makes an amazing experience into a truly unforgettable one.
The courses offered through BCA and the University are top notch, but still allow yourself to enjoy your time abroad. I was able to take many trips with my roommates to Mainz and Wiesbaden, as well as visit my exchange family in Stuttgart that I stayed with in 2011. All in all this experience has filled me with enough memories for a thousand lifetimes and friendships that continue to shape who I am to this day! I implore you to sign up for this program as fast as possible!
-Josh Downey, Fall 2014 BCA Marburg and Messiah College student