Elizabeth Hiatt Johannes-Kepler Universitat Linz

Wow what a week! I’ve come to the realization that I probably need to post more than just once a week at least for these first couple weeks – so much has happened! I’ll try to condense it into a manageable summary.

I moved in officially last Sunday. I live in the Julius Raab Heim dorm here at JKU. What’s nice about this place is that it’s also used as a hotel, so it has a lot of hotel amenities! Downstairs under the lobby are an indoor pool, an indoor full-sized football (known in the states as soccer haha) court, a small dance studio, three piano rooms, and pool and foosball tables. On the level where the lobby is there is also a restaurant that isn’t too expensive. I haven’t eaten there yet, but I’ll have to try it out soon.

One interesting thing about Sundays in Linz – a majority of the shops and grocery stores close down! That was a little bit of a surprise for me. So far I’ve only been able to find a gas station that is consistently open on Sundays.

I share a flat-style apartment with two other girls. I’m in a double room with a girl from the Czech Republic who’s already been here for a semester, and a girl from here in Austria lives in the single room. They are both very nice! We share a bathroom and a small kitchen that has two burners and a small fridge. We’ve got a pretty great view!

On Monday the international students had an orientation session, so I got to meet many of the other students. We got all kinds of information about enrollment, registration, classes, university facilities, and upcoming trips. There is a group on campus called REFI, and this semester they are planning trips to Budapest, South Austria for skiing and snowboarding, and Prague. I’m going to try to go on all of them if I can! They sound so exciting. We took a tour of campus and got put into mentor groups. Each group has one or two students from the university to help them. So then, our mentors helped up pay our student fees, set up a bank account, and set up passwords for the JKU online systems.

Wednesday I had my first German class! I am taking a Pre-Semester language class, so we have it for about three hours a day. I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to learn more. Wednesday night there was a pub crawl, so we got to go around Linz and check out some of the better pubs. The first one was called Bar Walker, and it was pretty much a sports bar. I really enjoyed the second one, which was called Café Valdes. If was kind of a Spanish style café, and I even got to speak to the man who was working there in Spanish! I didn’t think I would get to practice Spanish very much while I was here. The next one was Bar Bug’s, which is a bar and a club. They were playing American pop and hip hop! The final bar we went to (we skipped the very last one) was called Segabar, and it was much more laid back. All in all it was a great time!

On Thursday I had to take care of some administrative business like finalizing my account information, paying my rent and housing fees, and meeting with my coordinator here to discuss classes. Here, because the Julius Raab Heim isn’t owned by JKU like MC dorms are owned by Maryville College, I am responsible for paying my own rent. JKU and Julius Raab Heim just have contracts so that many students live here. Then, we had a meeting to learn how to use JKU’s online registration system for classes. I have to register next week, and it looks like all my classes are going to work out, so I’m happy about that.

Thursday night some of the students organized a trip to A1, a club close to the city center. It was really nice! There were three rooms: one more traditional, one techno, and one pop/hip-hop. In the more traditional room they played some German songs and… you’ll never guess… Backstreet Boys! I really couldn’t believe it! We spent most of the time in the pop/hip hop room, and it was another fun night!

On Friday I had German class again, and that night there was a birthday party for one of the other students. On Saturday we went on a trip to Schlierbach and Steyr. Schlierbach is a monastery/school, and now they make stained glass and cheese there. We went on a tour of the building, which I found contradictory in the most wonderful way. On one had, we saw the cheese-making facilities, which were very industrial and sterile.

On the other hand, in other parts of the building we saw baroque style rooms, a library, and the church. All of the ornate detail was absolutely incredible! No matter how many times I see baroque style architecture and décor it will never stop amazing me. Despite being breathtakingly beautiful, the library was absolutely freezin. Our tour guide told us they kept the room cold to better preserve the books.
After the tour we got to taste cheese that had been made right there, and it was absolutely delicious!
That building also had a wonderful view of the surrounding landscape.
Next we took a 45-minute ride to Steyr, which was a medieval town and is located in Upper Austria. We stopped to have lunch and ate at a traditional Austrian restaurant. Absolutely delicious.
Then, we took a tour of the city, which used to be a big source of iron production. The architecture there is absolutely beautiful! I think it’s the epitome of what a lot of people might consider a quaint European town.
Even though it’s only been about a week I feel like I have been here for so long. I have met half a lifetime’s worth of good people, and this is only the beginning! Almost everyone here has been very friendly, and I’m enormously grateful for that. It took a couple days, but I’m finally used to the time difference! I’m starting to settle in too, and I even found myself calling Raab Heim “home.” Haha the people I was with when I said that gave me uncertain looks until I explained that I meant the dorm. I still miss my MC home and Georgia home, though, but Skyping helps a lot!

Ahh… even though I tried to make it concise I’m afraid this is the best I can do! I’ll try to make my future posts a little more manageable! But I’m sure once semester classes start up my blogging might revolve a little more around my homework haha.

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