I just finished my first week of classes at Philipps Universität in Marburg, Germany. I attended linguistics courses in German with German students, and I was able to understand the lectures. I spent time with other international students, and we used German to communicate with each other. I’m immersed in a foreign language, yet my first two weeks in Germany have not been very stressful. I’m not in culture shock or freaking out about the language barrier. Thanks to the pre-semester program, I am able to adjust more easily.
Since the semester at Philipps Universität did not begin until April, the BCA Marburg spring students spent February and March in Vienna, Austria. Our pre-semester in Vienna was set up to prepare us for Marburg. In the mornings, we took intensive German courses at Internationales Kulturinstitut Wien. Before coming to Vienna, I took four years of German in middle school and high school and one semester in college. However, I had a break since my last German course, so I definitely needed help refreshing and improving my German. Through my amazing teachers, I learned vocabulary and grammar and improved my reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. I still have a lot to learn, but I would be struggling a lot more if I did not take these intensive German courses. I am very thankful that we were given this time to adjust to the Germanic language and culture before the Marburg semester started.
The time in Vienna was also just a wonderful experience in itself. We met people from all over the world through our dorm and German class. Sometimes we met people who did not speak English, but we were still able to learn about them and their culture by using German as a common language. Sometimes German allowed us to form a connection with people we would not otherwise be able to communicate with.
During our pre-semester in Vienna, we also had a lot of opportunities to attend cultural activities. Once a week, we met with our Austrian assistant resident director at a coffee house for “Kaffee und Kuchen” (coffee and cake). Together, we cooked Wiener Schnitzel and visited a jazz club, a theater, and the movies. Our language school also held events, like a Faschingsdienstag party. On our own, we visited many museums and attractions. For instance, Mozart and Strauss are from Vienna, so we attended an orchestra concert that performed their music. I also watched Mozart’s opera “Die Zauberflöte” (The Magic Flute) at the Volksoper. At the Hofburg imperial palace, I went to a masquerade ball, the Sisi Museum, the Imperial Apartments, and the Silver Collection. I also enjoyed exploring the Schönbrunn palace, gardens, maze, and zoo.
I’m so glad that I’m studying abroad with BCA because of the pre-semester program. I had a great time in Vienna, and now I feel more prepared for my semester in Germany!
About the Author – Marcella Moorman, BCA Storyteller in Marburg Germany & Cedarville University Student
Marcella Moorman is a junior Linguistics major at Cedarville University in Ohio. She is excited to improve her German in Marburg, Germany and share her experiences as a BCA Storyteller.