Gemeinsam hoch hinaus!

Welcome to the Blog for the 2017 IUHPFL Program in Graz Austria!

We’re very excited about this program, and all the adventures and learning experiences to be had along the way. Once the program starts, this blog will be updated regularly with pictures, videos and updates relaying our Austrian Abenteuer across the internet. Keep coming back to stay updated on all the latest details!

Into the woods!

We’ve made it to Freelife Camp in Gesäuse National Park! Unfortunantly the internet connection here is not strong enough to support photo uploads. Thus we’ll be uploading photos of everything once we’ve done in our last week in Graz once we get to Vienna, along with photos of our adventures in Gesäuse. In the meantime, here’s a description of our activities this past week.

On Wednesday we had our community engagement activity with Volkshilfe Graz at a senior center. Dominik opened our performance with an introduction, followed by the whole group singing “Die Gedanken sind frei” which several of the center’s guests heartily joined in on. The maya performed “Das Lied der Blumen” on her trombone, and Chris continued the wind instrument groove, playing a classical piece on his clarinet. Rachel and Grace sang an Elvis song translated into German and were accompanied by Reilly on the ukulele. Maya, Ryan, Chris and Ethan read poems aloud, which were met with enthusiasm, and some of the guests even recited along from memory. We all sang several other folksongs to close off the performance. Afterwards we mingled with the guests and had some very interesting conversations with them about their lives and experiences.

The following day we put on our farewell show for the host families. Reilly kicked things off with a few opening words and then we all sang “Die Gedanken sind frei” (now very well trained in the song). Maya and Chris performed their musical pieces again, and Nathan K. brought everyone to laughter with his enthusiastic recitation of “Ottos Mops.” Rachel and Reilly knocked the audience away for a second time with their Elvis performance, and Grace sang a Japanese song translated into German. Nathan K., Nate B., Landry, Ethan, Rachel and Chris were hilarious in a sketch called “Buchbinder Wanninger.” Everyone participated in a dramatic recitation of the modernist poem “Schtzn-grmmm” by Ernst Jandel. The evening rounded off with a sketch written and performed by Maya, Dominik, Grace, Ryan, Reilly, and Aaron about a photo safari as an IUHPFL student in Graz. The final act transformed the stage into a dance hall with everyone rocking out to Nina’s “99 Luftballons.”

On Friday we departed from Graz and said goodbye to the host families with heavy hearts and headed – under the guidance of our larger than life bus driver, Franz – to Klagenfurt, where we took a tour of the city, saw the world’s largest heraldic collection and encountered a gigantic dragon (statue)! We also enjoyed an excellent lunch in the courtyard of city hall, where students got to sample some of the regional specialties. After that Franz joined us for a boat tour of Wörtersee and  braved the rain back to our bus, where Franz dropped us off at Gasthaus Eschau, our first home for the next four days until we head on to Vienna, and we were able to stuff our selves on Käsespätzle and Schnitzel as preparation for our woodland adventures.

Today after a hearty breakfast, students showed off their wilderness survival skills, shooting bow and arrows at numerous targets stationed around hiking trails. After a lunch break and some further (wooden) bear hunting, we took a long hike to a farm up in the mountains and returned to Gasthaus Eschau for fried chicken and noodles in a regional mushroom sauce. Everyone is currently playing cards and getting ready for a good long sleep. We’ll need it, because tomorrow we’re going rafting!