Tadhg Treacy – a 5th year student won the Senior Irish-Austrian Essay Competition in 2013 and received a two week scholarship to Austria. Below is his account of his trip.
In a word: Incredible. This was my experience of Austria’s capital, Salzburg. The food, the people, the atmosphere, Salzburg truly is a city beyond compare. Be it simply basking in the glow of the sun-kissed city or taking in the historic sites, in Salzburg the magic in the air is tangible.
Our group,(comprised of myself and the other scholarship recipients, Paul Crampton, Grace Carton and Eoin Hoctor,) were fortunate to experience all this and more as we were both charmed by the city and gifted a two-week language course (in German, naturally)!
The course itself was perfect, expertly taught to students of all nationalities. Each level of the programme was purposely designed to cater to the needs and abilities of students at a different stage in their German education. Not only did we progress significantly in terms of our grammatical skills, but the total immersion in the language greatly improved our competencies.
The student cohort was allocated to classes reflective of language ability as opposed to age, allowing us to make friends with all sorts of people from around the world. In addition to this, classes flowed easily with each student having a similar level of Deutschkenntnisse.
Of course, the scholarship truly flourished outside of the classroom. With lessons ending at 12.00, we had the best part of each day to explore this breathtaking city. On some occasions we did guided tours for example visiting historic sites such as the Festung or Mozart’s House. At other times we took to wandering in nearby hills and mountains. Regardless of which direction we travelled on these trips, we were invariably met with the wonders which this city has to offer.
On behalf of the Irish contingent I would like to thank the Irish-Austrian Society for providing students with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This experience has fostered in me, a love for the German language and a desire to achieve fluency. Without the annual Essay Writing Competition, we would never have had this wealth of educational experience, this immersion in the German language. We would have been deprived the opportunity to meet incredible people and learn in an awe-inspiring city.
I would like to extend my gratitude to H.E. The Ambassador of Austria, Dr. Thomas Nader for his patronage and promotion of this competition.
Finally, a personal thank you to my own teacher, Frau O’Reilly. She demonstrates a determination to enable each student to reach his full potential. She engenders in us a passion for German and without her capacity as a German language-teacher, I would not be in a position to write this account. Vielen Dank