Vienna Bilingual Schooling
The Spanish team arrived at 10.30 pm and went straight to the hostel to prepare for a day of sight-seeing in Vienna before the start of the project. Our winter weather in Vienna was being very cooperative, since they were greeted by the first few snowflakes, just in time for our Comenius meeting, as we got off the underground near the hostel.
While the Spanish team visited about most of Vienna’s sights from the Castle of Schönbrunn to some Klimt at Belvedere Castle, the rest of the teams arrived at different times spread out over the day, starting with the German team in the morning and ending with the Finnish team in the evening. The Italian, Turkish and Finnish students were collected from the airport by their host families, and the German students and their teachers as well as the other teachers, were accompanied to the hostel/ their hotels by the teachers of the Austrian team. Some of the students did a bit of sight-seeing with their families before dinner, while some others started exploring Vienna’s shopping centres and bowling allies as a start to their stay in Vienna.
On the first official day of our meeting, we started our day at 9am with ice breaking activities in the school gym. Afterwards, the guests were welcomed by our school’s principal, Mr. Röblreiter and Comenius coordinator, Renate Kurzmann, followed by fantastic presentations on the topic of skiing and the respective schools by all of the teams. The Austrian team also introduced the history of skiing and displayed some historical skiing equipment, no doubt fascinating, but we were all happy that the skies that we got to use on Wednesday were a bit more modern. After the presentations, it was time for lunch in the school canteen. At 1pm, the students were given questionnaires for a tour through the inner city of Vienna and headed into town in seven different teams. They did a very good job at finding out information about Vienna’s historical buildings, starting from St. Stephan’s Cathedral and ending at Vienna’s museums, while the teachers were being shown around by Mr. Feltham, our leading expert on historical Vienna from England. At 4pm all teams had finished their questionnaire and headed to Mariahilferstraße for some shopping. At 6pm we all met up again at the ice rink in front of Vienna Town Hall, Vienna’s biggest ice skating location, the annual “Vienna Ice-Dream”, to try our first bit of winter sport for the project. While some of us enjoyed sliding around Vienna’s town hall for a few hours, other people preferred to enjoy a view of Vienna and the skaters from above at the new sky bar, before heading to back to the host families or dinner in town for some traditional Austrian food.
We started our group work projects on Austrian winter sports at 8.30 in the same teams as the previous day and researched the topics of biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice-speed-skating, ice-stock sport, ski-touring, ski-jump and sledding. The goal was to write a 200-word text on the sport and to create two CLIL activity worksheets. Spread out over the morning, all of the teams also spent some time in the gym to try out bouldering at the school’s climbing wall to break up the theoretical part a bit, while the others continued their group work, which everyone enjoyed a lot. We had a rather early lunch at 11.45 and continued to write and proof-read the texts and the worksheets at 1pm. When all the groups were finished they presented their work to each other through running dictations. This also included some physical activities, when our teachers had the students mime some of the movements of the winter sports they had researched, which was fun, in spite of the fact that a corridor was temporarily set under water as part of the process. After the running dictations many of the students and their hosts headed to Vienna South Shopping City before making their way back to the hostel or their host families. In the evening, the teachers met at the Gmoa Keller Restaurant for some more Austrian food in town.
We left really early, setting off at 7.45 from the school to go on our skiing trip. Everyone was on time and the Spanish team surprised everyone by being first at the bus, even beating the Germans. After all the lunch packs had been distributed, last minute ski pants and other warm clothes had been swapped and some skies had been loaded onto the bus, we set off into the direction of Annaberg and went for about two hours through snowy landscapes. It took us a bit longer than expected since our bus driver had to put on some snow chains to get up to the lifts. After our arrival, the students (and some of the teachers) were put into groups of skiers and snow-boarders, beginners and advanced. Beginners and experienced skiers alike enjoyed the sunshine and fresh powder snow but when we headed back into town at 4pm everyone was rather tired and several of us nodded off on the bus! Back in Vienna, it was time to go back to the host families and a last meet-up in town.
It was time to say goodbye for most of us in the morning, as host families dropped off their guests at the school to leave for the airport train to meet their teachers, accompanied by some students from the Austrian team, while the Spanish team set off from their hostel. The German group was the lucky ones this time with a few more hours to explore the famous Naschmarkt and other bits of Vienna until the afternoon.
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