What Students Have to Say About the Maymester in Vienna
Rebecca Bielamowicz (American Studies and Sociology)
Every day for four weeks, I got to do what life’s all about: visiting new places, learning new things, and becoming best friends with people who were strangers to me before. Dr. Hoelscher provides you with truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, whether it’s going on a 14-mile evening hike through the Vienna Woods, rafting the Danube, or meeting the American ambassador to Austria and having a panel on U.S.-Austrian relations with American Studies students from the University of Vienna…and that was just three days of the program! All of these activities dovetailed with the readings we did for class, but instead of just talking about sites of memory in the abstract, our conversations were held in front of the actual buildings or in the specific areas of the city that we had just read about the night before. Every day was an adventure and in short, studying abroad was the best decision I've made in college.
Sarah Talaat (Journalism)
Having been on multiple study abroad programs before, I can honestly say that Dr. Hoelscher's Maymester in Vienna is the most well-planned and well-executed class I have ever taken abroad. His eye for detail and joy for teaching combined to create an unforgettable experience in which I learned more about the beautiful city of Vienna than I ever would have thought possible. Every day saw an engaging and exciting journey out into the city that has seen so much history and so much growth. I highly recommend this Maymester for anyone who has ever wondered why cities are the way they are, how they continue to be influenced by us, and, in turn, influence us in our daily lives."
Josh Shandera (Biology)
The phenomenal part about Dr. Hoelscher's study abroad class is that the destination is the topic of the course. We traveled to Vienna to learn about Vienna, and it has been the best educational experience of my life. Being immersed in a city so steeped in history and culture, you can't help but feel part of its rhythm and heartbeat after just a few days. Studying in Vienna with Dr. Hoelscher taught me so much about thinking critically when visiting a new place. It is so easy to see what everyone else sees, but this course challenged me to dig deeper and seek out the full story, getting to the heart of the memory of a time and place.
Byrn Rathgeber (Mathematics/Actuarial Studies)
I absolutely loved having the opportunity to participate in Dr. Hoelscher’s Maymester program to Vienna. Traveling has always been one of my greatest passions and this experience only added to that. Each day we would wake up and take the U Bahn to German lessons, and then spend the afternoon with the engaging and delightful Dr. Hoelscher at a different site around the historically rich city. He would share his wisdom with us, and then give us the opportunity to share our own thoughts. From these open discussions, my way of thinking was altered and I learned the importance of considering the significance of place and of observing the elements that make it what it is, which is a skill I have used in more ways than one since the end of the class. From waltzing to rafting, I got the chance to do so many incredible things in only a month and with people that are now some of my closest friends. I only hope that we all get a chance to go back!
Mary Kate Hoffman (Health and Society)
Coming into college, I always knew that I wanted to study abroad, but was unsure of where and when. I ended up applying to the Vienna Maymaster program on a whim and at the last minute, and I’d have to say it was the best (last minute) decision I’ve made during my time at UT. At the time I applied to the program, I knew absolutely nothing about Vienna, Austria. If you had asked me to point it out on a map, I couldn’t have done it. Now, there’s no city I adore more than Vienna. The four weeks I spent there were the best four weeks of my life, as I was in one of the most amazing cities in the world, with an inspiring professor, and with 17 strangers that soon became family. Every day, we all struggled through morning German classes that always proved to be entertaining, and then for the next few hours afterwards we were led on a new adventure by Dr. Hoelscher. Thanks to Dr. Hoelscher, we were able to discover a great amount about Vienna and, more importantly, about ourselves. The city was magical in every single way and I miss it, and the ice cream, dearly!
Priscila Perez (Nutritional Sciences)
If I could relive my time in Vienna it would only be with Dr. Hoelscher and my classmates. Dr. Hoelscher is the best kept secret of UT and Vienna. Your classmates will bring opposing perspectives along with changing your life. Wonderment surrounds every corner of Vienna especially the woods and river. The most heart-wrenching day was the visit to Mauthausen with the discussion “Spaces of Death.” The best day was every day but the best moment was realizing I could finally declare I have seen and lived in one of the most beautiful places in the world. You will feel tired from rafting down the Danube, exploring the Wachau, hiking the woods and vineyards, touring the country’s best museums, attending operas and symphonies, eating Sachertorte and Schnitzel, drinking coffee, wine and beer, and learning German, from the best teacher in all of Europe, yet you will have time and energy to cook a feast for your classmates and professor. I dare the next class and future classes to top the feast prepared by the Spring Class of 2015. Nothing in Vienna disappointed me or failed my expectations. What did I do to experience Vienna? I ate and tasted (almost) everything, explored the unknown, met new people, lived in the moment, took pictures, and wrote down everything I experienced in this glorious city. Giant check marks on my bucket list!
Kimberly Burris (History and Vice President of Student Veteran’s Association)
This quick little snippet couldn’t begin to explain the amazing journey students embark on for Herr Doktor Professor Steve’s (Dr. Hoelscher) study abroad in Wien, Österreich. For students who have never left the country, this course will hold a special place in your heart forever (as all first trips abroad should), and for those who have travelled before this will be your favorite to date. The days are packed, but the fun never ends. Day one involves meeting up with your new, soon to be attached-at-the-hip, best friends and climbing four flights of stairs to enter your classically European apartment. At some point you will stop -- all of the sudden -- in this bustling capital) and come to understand the state of awe the city has put you in. You will barely be able to contain your shock that you could stand in a city with such a rich history. Nothing will prepare you for that moment, but you’ll know when it happens and you will know that this trip was the best choice you could make for yourself. Dr. Hoelscher knows exactly what he is doing and knows exactly how to sweep students into a (pardon my Disney reference) whole new world. He doesn’t just want you to go out and walk around the city: he wants you to throw yourself head-first into it, which can be a little intimidating at first, but is quickly resolved. You will be surprised at how easy it is to adapt to the culture and lifestyle of this beautiful and magnificent country. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. You will never find anything like this again in your life and you won’t regret a second of it.
Sharon Joseph (Biology, Pre-Med)
There is no better place to be exposed to great culture, food, and music than Vienna. I can say in full confidence that as a group, we all started off as 18 strangers with a vast array of interests but the month together has made lasting changes on all of our lives. Even in class, Dr. Hoelscher challenged us to think critically about what we observed and look beyond what was simply presented. This class not only opened my eyes to the importance of learning about the past but also taught me to dig deeper and realize what the stories mean to the present. It's an unique experience to go beyond just reading about a building and actually be able to see how the people of the city interact with it. Seeing first-hand how the past shaped and formed modern-day Vienna has sparked my interest to global issues and opened my eyes to life outside of the US. I didn't know any German going into this trip so I was a little nervous about being unable to communicate with people but going to class everyday and practicing every chance I got when we were in the city made picking up the language so easy. Even though I am still not fluent, by the end of the month there I was able to have really good conversations with many locals. I loved how this program got us to experience this city not just as a tourist but as if we were Viennese. It is so easy to fall in love with the city, and before I knew it, Vienna felt like home.
Anahi Bendeck Sierra (Urban Studies)
To say that our time in Vienna was amazing is an understatement. The city itself is mostly an indescribable beauty that no picture will ever accurately capture. Flying to an unknown country with a group of people you barely know may seem terrifying, but leaving Vienna and saying goodbye to great friends after four incredible weeks is way worse. This Maymester abroad in Vienna has been my best experience at UT, and having Professor Hoelscher as a guide made it even better. This program fulfilled my expectations not only as an Urban Studies major eager to explore and study an amazing city, but also as a future young professional wanting to explore the world.
Cole Wilson (American Studies and History)
The classes for this Maymester were amazing, in part to the locations where they took place. Lectures on the impact, construction, and protection of the Danube River took place (literally) on the Danube River. The ability to see and touch the subject matter we discussed in class was an unparalleled experience. One day, for example, we studied the museum holding Franz Ferdinand's open top touring car after reading about the impact his death had on the world and which led to World War I. Days like this kept me engaged, excited, and eager for the next lesson. Every class day was fun, to say the least, and followed by afternoons exploring the sights, smells, and tastes of Vienna. Every ounce of the class was amazing; it has forever changed my outlook on education and caused me to deeply reflect on my own culture. My time in Vienna was absolutely incredible.
Blake Balser (Communication and Advertising)
This Maymester program was an experience of a lifetime. One aspect of the program that I loved was our daily interaction with the city. Class was conducted all over the city, which made each day new and exciting. Also, the people I have met through the program and abroad have had a profound effect on me, and I have made many lifelong friends as a result of this program. Additionally, Dr. Steve Hoelscher is second to none. He brings an unparalleled wealth of knowledge about modern day Vienna and its fascinating history. From rafting down the Danube River to brewery tours, every day in Vienna is an adventure with Dr. Hoelscher.
Devi Jabeja (International Relations and Global Studies)
Studying abroad in Vienna, Austria was one of the most amazing things I have ever had the opportunity to do. Although I wasn't sure what to expect when I first got there, I came home with eighteen new, amazing friends, tons of memorable adventures, a little extra weight from all the cake I ate, and a deeper understanding of Vienna's history in the context of the rest of the world. I never could have gotten any of that from a textbook. Dr. Hoelscher puts together a fantastic Maymester course which gives you the chance to experience Vienna as a local. From classes at museums and locations all around Vienna, rafting down the Danube River, traditional Viennese dinners, and even a trip to Salzburg, we learned something new and exciting every day. There was never a dull moment, and the month just flew by. This course greatly expanded my knowledge of cultural memory and how it ultimately affects peoples' views and perceptions of todays' current events. As an IRG major, I know this understanding will come in handy in the future. The friends and memories I made during this experience are unforgettable, and I will always keep them in my heart!
Amy Wrobleski (Integrative Biology and History)
Sometimes thinking back to that month in Vienna feels almost unreal, even though it definitely happened. So many things happened in that month it seems hard to keep up with while you're in the middle of it. You'll find that some things in Vienna are very different from Austin; the public transit is amazing, they speak German (obviously), you actually have to sit down at cafes. But a lot of things are very much the same. People still grocery shop, even if the stores are laid out differently, and still go to school and work. Vienna is a strange mix between the familiar and the different in the best way possible.
Kallie Kothmann (Art History and German)
I had some of the best experiences of my life on the Vienna Maymester. No two days were ever the same! Learning about a culture is one thing, but going to relevant locations in order to learn about the past while being absorbed into a culture and its day-to-day activities is what made this program so phenomenal. I mean, who doesn’t want to learn about the vast musical scene by dressing up and going to the symphony? That, plus all of the amazing people from different majors and backgrounds that brought different ideas and opinions to every discussion!
Sam Reeder (Mathematics)
The Vienna Maymester program with Dr. Steve Hoelscher has been one of the highlights of my college experience. It is an incredibly well put together program in which I fell in love with a city in a very brief period of time and made many new friends in the process. I loved how class was held on location; we were rarely stuffed up in a traditional classroom setting, instead, we got to go out and experience the places we were learning about. I especially enjoyed our excursions to Melk, Dürnstein, and Salzburg. This program really changed how I think about the purpose and function of places. My only regret is that it didn't last longer!
Jessica Glover (Psychology)
Whether you are excited and completely willing or interested but a little nervous, if you are looking for a community of loving and supporting friends and the ability to grow as a person in several ways, then this program is for you. Personally, I was nervous to go to another country by myself. However, quickly I realized that I was anything but by myself. The people you meet on this study abroad program will really become your best friends for life. You explore things together that most of us have never experienced before. My study abroad experience was the best summer of my life and I am so much more of a confident person because of it. Go explore the world; Vienna is the place to start this journey.Memo Hutson (History)
"This study abroad program was easily the greatest accomplishment of my academic career. The friendships made and the experienced gained are invaluable, and the city itself is unforgettable. Vienna is a wonderfully welcoming city with a wealth of history, culture and tradition that you will quickly familiarize yourself with under the excellent instruction of Dr. Hoelscher! It is hands down the best class I've taken so far. In a word, the entire experience was Ausgezeichnet!"
Barbara Palm (Mathematics)
I could not recommend this program highly enough. Vienna is truly a beautiful and unique city with a seemingly endless amount of history, architecture, culture, art, music, museums, scenery, and of course schnitzel. It has been the best experience of my life. The location, the timing, the weather, the instructor, the course material, and the other participants were factors that worked together to make this trip a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Zakiya Williamson (History and Psychology)
With 17 strangers, a passport, and a suitcase full of junk, I headed to Vienna in the early summer of 2013 not really knowing what to expect. From Austin to Vienna, I made my way to the city and with the classmates that I now know will forever hold deeply inside my heart. For the shortest month on my life, I got live in the heart of Vienna and learn from Professor Hoelscher, one of the best professors at UT. While every day was an adventure—from learning German to studying Viennese customs—the city became less foreign and more like home. Similarly, my classmates became less like strangers and more like friends, and I became less of a tourist and more of a local. From our many trips to museums, to our class road trip to Salzburg, and the emotional visit to the Mauthausen concentration camp, I learned from every experience; each will be cherished for a lifetime. What makes the Vienna Maymester so extraordinary is that you get to live in one of the best cities in the world, with some of the best people you will ever get to meet.
Alexia Schill (Plan II and Biology/Pre-Med)
This Maymester program bundles everything you could ever want in a study abroad course: a beautiful city, a fascinating itinerary, and a group of fabulous people with an inspiring professor to lead the way. Instead of sitting in classrooms and reading textbooks all day, we traveled to the actual sites of memory and had lectures on music, art, psychology, class distinction, and many other subjects encompassing all aspects of such a culturally rich city. Learning German in the mornings not only allowed us to go out and explore Vienna on our own in the afternoons when classes were over, but also feel like we were living there rather than just visiting. One of my absolute favorite moments of the course came during the last week, when a few of us went on a 20-mile hike through the Vienna woods, which I quote from my journal:
The trip began with an upward climb through the hills, and the heat was making us sweat buckets despite the shade from the trees. Because of heavy rainfall a few days before much of the path was still slick with mud, making it difficult to climb up steeper sections of the trail. A few hours in we followed our guide to the peaks of the hills, and once we emerged from the dense trees where we were surrounded by vineyards overlooking Vienna as the sun set. It was so beautiful! The rest of the hike was an easy downhill stroll through winding roads until we ended up on the outskirts of the main city exhausted, slightly sore, but above all proud that we all made it.
The trip went by way too fast, and I’ll always remember the people I met and the things I learned while in Austria. Basically, this Maymester is awesome!
Reena Patwari (Psychology)
I was always told that studying abroad was a great opportunity—something to do while you’re young and still have some leisure time. I knew that I wanted to travel and have the study abroad experience myself, but I could never have anticipated just how amazing it would really be! It sounds cliché, but in the midst of exploring Vienna, learning a bit of German, and eating way too much gelato, I truly learned a lot and made lifelong friends with my fellow classmates and our professor. Vienna itself is beautiful, has amazing public transportation, is clean, friendly, and just all-around wonderful. However, going with a remarkable professor like Dr. Hoelscher, who knows and loves the city, makes the study abroad experience that much better! Not only do you get to know the city of Vienna very well during your stay, but you also get to see Salzburg, the Mauthausen concentration camp, and tons of the picturesque Austrian countryside. I highly recommend going to Vienna with this Maymester course!
Amy Lattanzi (Finance and Plan II)
The four weeks I was able to spend in Vienna, Austria, with seventeen new friends and Herr Professor Doktor Steve (Dr. Hoelscher) will remain with me forever. Our days started with German class, where our Austrian teacher helped us not to butcher this new language in which we were being immersed. After a quick stop for lunch at different places around the city, we traveled to hand-picked places where we had thought-provoking discussions tied to the specific place we were visiting. I’ve never felt as part of a subject of a class until Vienna. The museums, musical performances, and trips to local Heurigen (or Vienna wine garden) let us immerse ourselves deeper into this new culture surrounding us, and truly allow us to see how Vienna's past had shaped its present. Outside of class, Dr. Hoelscher encouraged us to explore and get lost in this magical place as we navigated the U-Bahn to go to museums, the Prater (an amusement park), and every gelato stand in the city. By the end of the four weeks, I knew I had gained independence, new friends for life, an immense appreciation for schnitzel, and some amazing memories that will remain with me forever.
Vivian Chen (International Relations and Global Studies)
This Maymester course was like no course I have ever taken in college, and a unique experience that will likely never be replicated again. Instead of being in lecture halls with ill-fitting desks, we held class on any public space we could find in Vienna: sometimes in parks eating fresh strawberries, sometimes we were lounging on the colorful chairs of the Museums Quartier eating gelato. The few days we did spend in a classroom was no ordinary experience, since it was a baroque palace filled with a grand piano that we got to see a professional play to illustrate Vienna's musical history! You will get the best professor you could ever ask for in Dr. Hoelscher. He taught us to immediately apply the tools of cultural memory, which for me included places well beyond the tourist itinerary; my favorites were the Karl-Marx-Hof and the Jewish Cemetery. Beyond that, when I traveled in Warsaw, I could not help but see every site—from every museum to every monument—differently with the new things that I had learned. It will change how you think, and how you travel, even if you have been abroad many times before. There's little like it.
Jayshree Thomas (Anthropology, Pre-Med)
Even though I don’t think I could have pointed to Austria on a map before this class, my college experience and education would have been incomplete without the eighteen strangers that became my family for this month and a half, including Dr. Hoelscher (the most charismatic professor I have ever met). Nothing will ever compare to learning a foreign language in a new country and then practicing it daily to order lunch, or to being able to attend lecture at the exact sites of memory your reading assignment the night before was based on. Class trips don’t usually include weekends in Salzburg in castles or 19 mile hikes through the Vienna woods. You also will never find a city quite like Vienna. The architecture is something that can only be described by a first-hand encounter, and its rich history and emphasis on the fine arts can only move you if you go there. And then there’s the gelato! If you are considering this Maymester, you definitely will not regret it, because these are the kinds of lessons you can only truly grasp from experience, and not from a textbook!
Thomas Smith (American Studies)
As anyone who has ever studied abroad will probably tell you, it was the best experience they had in college. That’s certainly true for me. I can't say enough about the Vienna Maymester program with Dr. Hoelscher. Vienna is a beautiful city with a lot to offer. The culture is a wonderful mix of modernity and antiquity. I never felt unsafe in the city and I was always having fun. My advice to prospective students would be to take every advantage you can and see as many different aspects of the city as possible. I went to hip-hop shows and operas, concertos and amusement parks, art galleries and graffiti parks; I did a 20-mile hike through the Vienna Woods and ate a five-course dinner at the oldest Restaurant in Europe, while listening to Mozart. All along the way, Professor Hoelscher was there and happy to give great lectures and tours, and helpful tips about everything Vienna. You will make new friends from UT and abroad as well. It was truly an experience that I wouldn't trade for the world.
Sarah Lusher (History)
Vienna: Memory and the City is not just a study abroad program for history majors, or urban studies majors, or European studies majors; it benefits all sorts of students. The course isn't limited to studying culture, or history, or Vienna itself—it's an examination of our own humanity, based on the choices societies made in years past and the decisions we must make in years to come. In this program, I learned as much about myself as I did about the enchanted city of Vienna. In Vienna—land of music, art, coffee, tradition, language, and beauty—it's impossible to be bored. Professor Hoelscher's program is organized such that traditional "class time" becomes exploration and discovery in the city you'll call home for four weeks. Vienna: Memory and the City is an experience not to be missed.
Dawn Hewitt (Art History)
During my first semester at UT I saw the poster to study abroad in Vienna. I remember wondering, "What does cultural memory mean and why would one study it in Vienna?" I was determined to find out for myself! It wasn't until three years later that I was able to become a participant, though. As an Art History major, I tend to focus on the art and architecture of a place, but, as I’ve come to understand, a culture is so much more than that. This course really opened my eyes to gain a much broader cultural understanding of people in another part of the world. Along the way, I made great friends, met some interesting Austrians, drank fantastic coffee, learned to speak some German, saw inspiring places, and, most of all, learned an enormous amount cultural memory and why it’s so important. There are many wonderful things that make Vienna the perfect place to study how the past affects every aspect of cultural life. The class taught me how to view the past while still living in the present and how to articulate this experience in writing. I began graduate school this fall and I brought this new knowledge with me; the experience influences how I think about my research to a much greater extent than I ever imagined.
Meredith Trapp (Business and Plan II)
Studying abroad in Vienna was the most rewarding experience of my college career thus far. Not only did I get to experience a culture completely different from my own, but also I made lifelong friendships, connected with my amazing professor, and attempted to learn some German! Studying abroad changed my perspective of my own world. I had no idea it could teach me so much about my own culture. I went to study abroad with high expectations and those expectations were exceeded. One of the most amazing experiences was hiking the Vienna woods. We got lost in the woods and ended up discovering the most beautiful view—as Professor Hoelscher always said, sometimes the most rewarding experiences are the ones where you get lost. Studying abroad was the experience of a lifetime and it taught me how to cultivate curiosity, so that now I love getting lost.
Sam Moser (Economics)
I knew very little about the city of Vienna before the program, but I heard great things about this Maymester course, so I decided to apply. Little did I know that this study abroad course would be a life changing experience. The city is beautiful, our apartments were great, the staff was friendly, and the food was INCREDIBLE! Vienna has stuff for everyone. The excursions include (but certainly not limited to) art museums, classical music, hiking, rap concerts, old Roman Cities and much more. Needless to say, you will not be bored. Professor Hoelscher was an amazing teacher and ensured that we had an unforgettable time. If you are lucky enough to join the Vienna Maymester Team, you will never regret it.
Simi Aliu (Urban Studies)
An important aspect of Urban Studies is studying specific cities in relation to different urban areas. Solely speaking from personal experience, I had very little exposure to this aspect of my major before the Maymester course in Vienna. Although Urban Studies students can study the cities in which they live, it is very difficult to base one’s understanding of urban planning and city organization on this experience alone. This changed for me while studying in Vienna, which is a city that has been shaped by entirely different historical moments. I explored all of the components of my major and immersed myself entirely in the stuff of urban life. This particular program addressed the ways in which culture and memory have created a city and it taught me things a lecture and textbook could not. The city was my classroom and I learned so much from it.
Natalie Myers (Plan II and Pre-Med)
Although it’s hard to sum up my study abroad experience in a few sentences, I will say that this program was the perfect way to get to know the culturally and historically dense European city that is Vienna while growing close to a great group of classmates at the same time. Daily meetings with the class were held at different sites of memory around the city, and Dr. Hoelscher did a wonderful job of bringing the subject matter to life right in front of our eyes each day. There was never a lack of things to do in Vienna during my free time. Even just walking the streets of the city could keep me occupied for hours. Learning how to navigate the many different forms of transportation in Vienna gave me an invaluable sense of independence, and getting the opportunity to immerse myself in the Viennese culture was amazingly enjoyable. This was exactly the study abroad experience I had always hoped to have, and I would strongly recommend this program to anyone considering it.
Meredith Pollock (Management and History)
My experience in Vienna was nothing less than extraordinary. The city truly was our classroom—each day we met in a new place—and our class discussions were always thought provoking and insightful. Vienna is a fascinating city to study, and it is a wonderful place to live in. It’s incredibly beautiful, easy to navigate, and full of culture. From our weekend in Salzburg to grabbing a cone of gelato with my wonderful classmates, every second was magical. Now that I’ve studied abroad I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like if I hadn’t. Before my Maymester abroad I’d never been to Europe. Now I’ve been to four countries, and I even traveled alone to Oslo, Norway during our free weekend! Not only do you experience the history and beauty of Europe, but you also get to know yourself better. Dr. Hoelscher was the perfect professor to lead us on our journey, and I’ll be forever grateful for this opportunity. I can’t wait to go back to beautiful Vienna, and I absolutely recommend the program to anyone who wants to learn about and live in this enthralling, complex, and stunning city.
Melanie Schochet (Plan II and Radio-Television-Film)
The Memory and the City program was the best thing I've done so far at the University of Texas. Exploring the museums and monuments and cultural movements that lie at the heart of Vienna and its rich history, while simultaneously building lasting bonds with my classmates, was an incredible, surreal experience. I learned a lot about myself, and I absolutely fell head-over-heels in love with that amazing city. Study abroad in Vienna, because it will change your life!
Cierra Franco (History and Anthropology)
Studying in Vienna was one of the most fantastic experiences I have ever had. The city, the people, and the culture were unforgettable! The friends I made became my new family and Dr. Hoelscher is one of the best professor's I've had the privilege of getting to know. Studying abroad in Vienna was a huge eye opener for me and made me think and look at life like I never had before. I hope that, one day soon, I will be able to return and reminisce about the wonderful times I had there when I started discovering myself.
Courtney Weir (Urban Studies)
Not a week goes by that I don't think about my experience in Vienna. The friendships, the adventures, and the curriculum have influenced my life more than I ever would have imagined. Cities I visit have taken on completely different meanings as I view them through a critical lens; I’m now always questioning and imagining how individuals of the past have influenced how their city is remembered. This class maximizes everything Vienna has to offer and truly makes it a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Ady Wetegrove (History)
With eyes aglow, I dove into Vienna hoping to gain a better understanding of the construction of historical memory, and of the city itself. That definitely happened in my course with Dr. Hoelscher, but something else occurred as well. My own personal and intellectual evolution progressed rapidly and was, in part, an unexpectedly rewarding product of my four-week stay at 18 Dürergasse—my apartment right in the middle of the city. Experiencing a city like Vienna from within, as an inhabitant of the city, I began to flirt with an idea that cannot be articulated from an external perspective. Professor Hoelscher’s Maymester in Vienna is unlike any other course I have taken. Through class discussions on the lawns of Vienna’s public green spaces, I re-conceptualized my idea of being a student, my view of the world, and my place in it. Aside from the gorgeous palace where we had daily German classes, the walls of the classroom dissolve, and the city itself becomes a stage in which the intellectual dialogue unfolds. At some point in the journey, the Vienna course ceases to be merely a class, and becomes a lifestyle. It provides a pattern for thinking which transcends your stay in the city, and a catalyst to get lost in something multifaceted and dynamic.
Kylie Bishop (American Studies)
From insightful and thought-provoking class discussions to wandering aimlessly around a beautiful city, the Vienna Maymester was one of the best experiences of my life. Never have I wanted to challenge myself as much I did on this eye-opening journey in Vienna. The city of Vienna has so much to offer and I will never forget the experiences I had there. The things I learned, the sights I saw and the friends I made will stay me forever. I highly recommend studying abroad, especially in Vienna with Dr. Hoelscher.
Ritika Gopal (Plan II Honor’s Program)
There are few things I love more than travelling: the sights, the smells, the notion of being in a perpetual state of transit; frontiers seem bigger, people seem deeper, and dreams seem closer. In the summer of 2011, I was enrolled in the course, Vienna: Memory and the City, and was fortunate enough to spend a month in Vienna, Austria – a city brimming with culture and a potent past. The course was primarily centered on exploring the many ways in which historical memory has sculpted the unique urban life of current Vienna. Aside from the awe-inspired sites, the gelato, the castles, the priceless friendships, and pure unmitigated authenticity, this class helped me realize something of momentous importance: history and its constructions of memory cannot be perceived as black and white, but rather as several shades of gray, assessed and reframed over and over again, so that one can truly understand a culture and its people. One of the most interesting aspects of this class was learning that the way memory is tailored and manipulated can be quite telling of a city’s urban attitude, its history, its collective emotions, leanings, etc. I gained insight that I could never have dreamt of and I fell in love with a city that now holds a nestled place in my heart, a city that has become a second home to me.
Joseph Lam (Urban Studies)
My time spent in Vienna with my fellow Maymester classmates and Dr. Hoelscher is truly unforgettable and unsurpassable. If there is one thing that I would most advocate to other college students, it is to study abroad, especially through "Memory and the City". Never have I become so quickly acclimated to a foreign city that I would be able to call it home within a few weeks. With the advice of Dr. Hoelscher, we acclimated to the city in no time. The course itself was phenomenal; each lecture, place, and memory site was specifically hand picked by Dr. Hoelscher to comprehensively teach us about the city of Vienna and the collective cultural memory of its inhabitants. There couldn't have been a better living arrangement for the students to foster life-long friendships as well as to promote urban exploration individually and together. Every single one of the excursions, ranging from nature trips to sites of urban developments, was unbelievably interesting. As a major metropolitan of Europe, Vienna was the perfect place for me to expand my Urban Studies knowledge. Being able to visit a physical site strongly reinforces the material that we learn through our readings and lectures both in Vienna and in Austin. From my one month abroad in Vienna, I feel as though I've exponentially developed in character as an aspiring scholar as well as a worldly person.
Vienna Morini (Philosophy)
I have always been asked if I had ever been to the city with which I share a name; I can finally say that I have and am ecstatic to do so. Both this Austrian city and this program's amazing professor, Dr. Hoelscher, were incredibly welcoming and with guest lecturers, field trips to a variety of places, and visits to many museums this program felt all encompassing and complete. The classical topics of history, art, government, and music, as well as less classical topics like urban development contributed to the depth and breadth of this course. The people, place, and experience together are something I wouldn't trade for any other.
Kristin Fields (UTeach Liberal Arts, Government)
Studying abroad in Vienna, Austria, this past summer was by far one of the most memorable experiences of my college career. I applied to the program not knowing a single person and left Vienna after making 17 unforgettable friendships that I continue to cherish everyday. Upon leaving for Austria, I was rather hesitant about what would lie ahead for me. This was my first time traveling overseas and I was going to a foreign country not knowing anyone. One thing I found especially rewarding while studying abroad was that I developed a new sense of independence. By the end of the course, I was riding the U Bahn (subway) alone to class, stopping every afternoon at my favorite coffee shop to drink my mélange (Austrian coffee), and ordering gelato in German. I think one of the greatest aspects about this course was how close our class became in the span of just four weeks. The time I spent in Vienna this past summer was more than just a study abroad course; it was truly a life-changing experience.
Christine Manthuruthil (Plan II Honors Program, Biology Premed)
The study of cultural memory provides a crucial link between bygone eras and life as we know it, and nowhere does this hold more true than Vienna. From Mozart to Freud, from the revolutionary swell of the Napoleonic Wars to the horrors of the Holocaust, the city has borne witness to ideas and events that have defined much of the world as it is today. The fingerprints of the past—as embodied in buildings and monuments, artwork and story, tradition and customs—continue to shape, and be shaped by the peoples that claim a historical narrative as their own. The Maymester takes you on a whirlwind tour of a city steeped in the past, asking that you order information form a variety of media into a cohesive understanding of a modern city and grasp the complexities o social integration: the ways in which individual associations give rise to institutions that then act upon them, the divides that separate individual and social realities, perceptions, and memories. Dr. Hoelscher is an ideal guide, facilitating lively class discussions and supplementing the phantasmagoria of sights, sounds, and smells with historical context and perspective. I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.
Cassie Crump-Toulet (Biology, Premed)
This course was the most educational, and the best overall experience of my life. When you learn in an environment like this, strong bonds are formed—note only with the people with whom you share memories, but with the city of Vienna as well. Lectures were held out in the city; we did not only read about the city but we walked, tasted, saw, and lived the city. Your homework is to be an active observer of Vienna, as well as an active participant in the social drama that occurs everywhere and everyday. Daily journal entries allow you to put your thoughts, observations, and memories in a place that they will not fade away, and can be reflected on later. I still go back and read mine to relive an experience, or to revisit a feeling or a thought. Not only do you learn from experience, but also you learn by talking to your peers and to Steve (Dr. Hoelscher) in class discussions, which are usually held in grassy areas near a site of historical memory. Everyone in the group comes from somewhere different, everyone is unique with a unique perspective, and the open and welcoming teaching environment allows for all these unique thoughts to flow freely. You would be hard-pressed to find a better professor than Steve. He is obviously extremely intelligent, but more importantly he encourages students to explore their thoughts and ideas; his openness makes it easier for students to express themselves, which fosters their learning. The program is not only educational, but also exceedingly fun. There is a lot of free time in the schedule and there is always something happening in Vienna. You will also live in an amazing location that I miss dearly. There are many fun activities planned by Steve that take place in and out of Vienna. This program teaches you about so much more than just “Memory and the City”: it teaches you about the world and how we interact with it, and it teaches you about yourself and how much there is for you to learn and to experience. One thing that I remember thinking constantly during the program is, “This is how people should be living; and it is sad that many people will not have the opportunity to do this.” If you are reading this, you need take this opportunity. This could be one of the best decisions of your life; I know it was mine.
Victoria Hurley (American Studies)
Studying abroad in Vienna was a life-changing experience that I will never forget. I have never learned so much, about a culture, my peers, or myself. The Maymester was a perfect amount of time to feel accustomed to living among the Viennese. Don't be nervous if you don't know German; picking up key phrases was fun and easy in the daily German classes. Wandering around the city and finding something new, historical, beautiful, and exciting around every corner was the most memorable experience. Everyone we had contact with went beyond being helpful to make us feel at home and I will never forget their hospitality. As lead by Dr. Hoelscher, it was a great way to meet people of all majors and come together to share this wonderful time together. Each day I spent in Austria is a day I will forever cherish and I can't wait until I can go back to Vienna some day and take on the city with confidence.
Kristin Thompson (Civil Engineering)
As a civil engineering student, I found American Studies to be directly applicable to my field of studies. It was remarkable to be able to compare urban development and transportation infrastructure in a foreign country and assess the resulting social structure. The more my classmates and I became acquainted with Vienna’s unique culture, the more we sought ways to bring back small elements of it to the United States. This is one of the priceless aspects of studying abroad: the access to several different cultures that can be creatively fused with your own personal experiences. This opportunity allows for us to grow in ways that are not possible with a solely domestic education. The diversity of my American Studies classmates, in addition to our assimilation into our new international surroundings, shed new light on everything I took for granted. Of all the things that I learned while oversees, the most important lesson is this: openness and willingness to understand an unfamiliar culture will allow you to grow personally, emotionally, and intellectually.
Grant Glenewinkel (American Studies)
Vienna: a perplexing and gorgeous venue on the world's stage, where the past brushes shoulders with the modern. It’s a city that is captivating, beautiful, eclectic, creative, and proud. There has been no single experience as meaningful to my time spent at the University of Texas than that of the Vienna Maymester. Professor Steven Hoelscher is a master of his craft and will truly challenge every student in this study abroad class. Dr. Hoelscher demands confrontations with Vienna’s striking past and what is revealed can lead to a truly life-altering experience. My friends and colleagues of my travels (who were incredibly diverse) continually bounced ideas off each other; the class is true intellectual freedom. Take the chance, confront the past.
Emily Neinast (UTeach Liberal Arts, History)
The Vienna Maymester program was my first study abroad program, and I can confidently say that it will always be my favorite, no matter what the future holds. Living in gorgeous apartments a block away from the Naschmarkt and a two-minute U-Bahn ride away from the heart of the city could not have been more ideal. My fellow students and I were fully immersed in the richness of Viennese culture, which was ever-present in the architecture, the music, the cafes, and the people. Our daily adventures to museums and castles, to restaurants and cafes, to the Wienerwald, and to the Donau were not only terrifically enjoyable experiences, but also extremely intellectual ones. Steve absolutely knows what he is talking about, and he radiates passion for the city and for teaching its colorful history. Some of my favorite memories were made while in Austria – the Viennese Heurigen, rafting the Donau, exploring Schönbrunn, and Salzburg’s Hellbrunn – and I am so thankful that I was given the opportunity to participate in this program. Also, I would be remiss if I failed to mention the incredible food, especially the gelato! It was both a learning and personally-growing adventure, and I’m quite positive that no other study abroad program will give you the same life-changing experience.
Katherine Morrow (Communication Sciences and Disorders)
I never thought Vienna, Austria would be my first destination in Europe, but it was and I absolutely loved it. This course was by far one of the most amazing experiences of my life. From meeting and living with a wonderful group of UT students, to having the opportunity to learn from one of the most genuine and intelligent professors, Dr. Hoelscher, every day was unique and incredible. The course makes you realize how memory can affect the past and the present, and so much more…and who can’t relate to that? There is no better place to study this than in the historically rich and complicated city of Vienna. You will find something or someplace new and interesting all the time, as there is not one day with nothing to do in this beautiful city. Our fieldtrips within Austria were some of my most favorite weekends as you find yourself in places you would never expect and that take your breath away. Living in Vienna for four weeks allows you to experience a way of life much different than I was used to and that you can only wish to bring back with you. A love for this place will grow inside of you that is incomparable and that you cannot describe. This course, month, and experience exceeded my expectations and I couldn’t have imagined studying abroad any other way.
Taylor Stockett (International Relations and Global Studies)
Studying abroad in Vienna, Austria, certainly ranks among the highlights of my year! I soaked in the sites of the most beautiful city in the world, sampled a most delicious Viennese cuisine, thoroughly enjoyed my coursework and colleagues, and gained insight into my own person and set of priorities. I learned much about Europe, but even more about my own political, educational, spiritual, and moral priorities. Being displaced from my usual environment for a month allowed me to take the time to learn about something new and exciting, while simultaneously studying myself. I would recommend such an eye-opening experience to anyone as I will treasure and draw from my time in Vienna for the rest of my life.
Sara Cain (Computer Science)
Vienna is without a doubt a beautiful and historic city, but it is also incredibly diverse and unique culturally. Vienna has an unexpected atmosphere and way of life that intrigued me to explore it, and fall in love with it in my four weeks. The class with Dr. Hoelscher gave me a great platform to finding hidden places I would have never come across on my own, and encouragement to investigate them intellectually in a way that not only gave me a better understanding of the city and its history, but also made the people and culture more captivating. My time in Vienna was something amazing that I will never forget, and my only wish is that I could do it again!
Sarah Johnson (American Studies)
“Never before have I so learned or so loved a city as after my Maymester in Vienna. From the get-go I experienced this capital of culture as more than a tourist, as an inhabitant, led through its streets and history by a variety of experts in a gamut of fields, not to mention the knowledgeable and insightful Dr. Hoelscher himself. By approaching Viennese memory through many different disciplines alongside students from an array of majors, I feel my understanding of Austrian society, its past and its present, to be all the more thorough. Outside of class time, we students couldn’t have asked for better living arrangements or a schedule more accommodating to individual exploration. My month in Austria is hands-down the most memorable of my life, and it is an experience I recommend to anyone, regardless of their field of study or previous travel experience.”
Valerie Meeks (Urban Studies)
“My experience in Vienna was one of the most fulfilling and rewarding journeys I have taken. The city is stunning and historical, traditional and modern, boasting an urban landscape that most definitely sits at the top of the world. Our beautiful apartment in the center of the city allowed us to walk and take the U-bahn (subway) everywhere. Our academic days consisted of German class every morning in an old palace, and from there Dr. Hoelscher would take us on field trips to places that were historical and lively at the same time. Every day was different and exciting, never stifled in a classroom, as we took our class discussions to picturesque city parks and to famous Viennese cafés. My perspective of how culture remembers, values, preserves, and sometimes fiercely changes blossomed in this inspirational place. I am counting the days until I can one day return!”
Abby Howell (Psychology)
“Studying abroad in Vienna, Austria was an experience of a lifetime. Since I wasn't able to go abroad for a year or a semester, Maymester was perfect. For a month I was completely immersed in a dynamic culture and beautiful city, fortunate enough to share such a unique adventure with many fast friends. If you have the opportunity to study abroad you should by all means go, you definitely won't regret such an amazing experience."
Kevin Olson (Urban Studies)
“Vienna is such an amazing city with a rich culture of music, history and people! The Maymester program is a fantastic way to live in a European city and break your comfort zone. This experience is irreplaceable and I will forever hold it in my heart. The topics and discussions are interesting and unlike any class I’ve ever taken! Don't be discouraged by not knowing German, it will help but the people are very helpful and accommodating. There is so much that this program has to offer, it's hard to put down in words. If I had to pick, my favorite part was the cuisine and the amazing public activities. This is a chance to really live in Europe and not just visit!"
Elizabeth Garrett (American Studies and Anthropology)
“Vienna is one of many alluring European cities rich with culture and beauty. What makes Vienna unique, however, is its drastic transformation throughout history. This dynamic place harbors vast collections of art, awe-inspiring architecture that is representative of the city’s entire historical spectrum, and a complex society that places equal importance on tradition and progress. My summer in Vienna with Dr. Hoelscher and our entire crew not only inspired me to think more critically of our modern world, but also allowed me to make priceless memories and friendships that I will cherish for the rest of my life. In four-and-a-half weeks, I fell in love with the city of Vienna…and I can’t wait to go back!"
Micah Stroup (Urban Studies)
“For me, Vienna was about a willingness to explore. Openness to losing yourself on an unfamiliar streetcar route; roaming around the Innerstadt until you stumble upon the ideal spot for lunch; even adapting to the fact that your weekend train never stopped where you had first intended, and eagerly examining the map to see where best to spend the day. If you let it, adventure will become the theme of your time in Austria’s influential city."
Sonia Rangel (History)
“Studying aboard in Vienna has been one of the best experiences I have had the opportunity to do at UT. On most days class consisted of learning basic German and then taking off into the city and immersing into the Vienna history and culture led by an amazing professor. It felt like an adventure every day, hopping into the U-bahn, walking down the Ringstrasse or going to various museums. The excursions to the other cities in Austria like Salzburg were also incredible. I will definitely return to Vienna one day, as I find it to be my home in Europe."
Sascha Rips (American Studies)
“The Vienna Maymester was definitely the high-point of my college experience. The course was designed so that we were able to learn about every facet of Viennese culture; from the language and the arts to the natural environment and the stunning architecture. As an American Studies major, the Vienna Maymester offered me the unique opportunity to view the U.S. from the outside-in. I was also able to apply the skills I had learned in American Studies classes to my study of Viennese culture, which made the experience even more fulfilling. I truly enjoyed my month in Vienna and I encourage anyone who wants to discover a new and exciting place full of magnificent beauty and rich history to consider the Vienna Maymester. It is an experience not to be missed!”
Tyler Harris (Georgraphy)
“The Vienna Maymester: Memory and the City offers a uniquely authentic and enriching study abroad experience. Few cities can match Vienna’s cultural and historical significance, not to mention its high quality of life. Over the course of this brilliantly designed program, you will come to know Vienna through the eyes of the people who shaped it over a long and turbulent history. Given its interdisciplinary nature, this Maymester in particular is a spectacular opportunity to become familiar with the many facets that form Viennese and Austrian identity. Whether your interests lie in history, geography, culture, architecture, or the fine arts, Vienna offers something for everyone."
Jeremy Atkinson (Urban Studies)
“Going to Vienna fulfilled a nearly life-long wish of mine to step outside the U.S. and see the world. The Vienna Maymester Program also brought me in contact with countless individuals, from fellow UT students to our instructors at IES and guides all over Austria (including the director of the Fulbright Program in Austria), which has contributed greatly towards my education. The best part about the program is the flexibility and freedom to explore built into it. You can do all of the requisite things such as attending the Opera and sipping coffee in cafes, or you can look for the unexpectedly modern parts of this city, like the MuseumsQuartier or rocking out at Donauinselfest (the largest music festival in Europe). In the end, the experiences I had and friends I made in Austria will last me for a lifetime."
Denise Lopez (Education)
“I learned so much this summer. I am so glad that I decided to spend that month in Vienna. It was something completely different than what I am accustomed to. I met a group of awesome people and learned a lot about Vienna and especially about myself. I can't wait to go back!"
Alisha Cloud (American Studies)
"I just cannot say enough good things about my experiences in the Maymester program in Vienna. The city stole my heart, our classes were fascinating, and I couldn't believe all of the things that were included in our program fee! IES, our host organization, took care of everything from transportation passes to fantastic outings and events. The Maymester trip is structured to suit everyone, whether they are experienced in foreign travel or not. We learned, laughed, grew, explored, and I think that each one of us came back changed for the better. Vienna is a place that must be experienced first hand, and the Maymester is a great way to go."
Annabel Lee (Plan II Honors Program and Russian Language and Culture)
“Without a doubt, this past June spent with Professor Hoelscher in Vienna was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Classes consisted of, among other things, strolling down the Ringstrasse, sipping kleiner brauners in cafes, rafting down the Danube with esteemed scientists, exploring world class history and art museums, attending symphonies and operas, experiencing authentic Austrian culture at Heurigens in the depths of the Austrian woods, all led by a brilliant professor who helps bring to life the history and culture of this incredibly rich, captivating city. It was indeed a once-in-a-lifetime experience: one that will leave you utterly captivated and internally changed.”
Thank you once more!
Steven Boening (Radio-Television-Film and Government)
“By far the most important college experience I've ever had! No where else have I been able to meet such an eclectic group of people and learn so much from one of the greatest professors I've ever had... I got more out of the trip then I ever expected.”
Marcela Gallo (Urban Studies)
“The Vienna Maymester Program was a wonderful and unforgettable experience for me. It was my first trip to Europe so the excitement was double. When I arrived in Vienna, I felt I was in another world from the moment I saw Stephansdom; I was excited to know I was going to enjoy sights like that for a whole month. This excitement grew when we saw our apartments... comfortable spacious, and cozy. Although the month went by so quickly, I made wonderful friends and had amazing experiences, including a visit to Innsbruck and the beautiful Alps, Salzburg, Mauthausen memorial, etc. The course had some requirements, like reading and we learned a lot by going to the places and meeting very interesting people, which I will never forget. I am very thankful for this opportunity; it left me with the desire of going back to Vienna one day and enjoy the exquisite coffees and wines, admire the architecture, dance the Waltz, go to the daily Operas, and so much more. Last, but not least, Dr. Hoelscher is a great lecturer; he loves Vienna and knows how to make you love it as well. His meticulous planning was part of the reason of why this trip was so successful.”
Jenny Paul (History)
“Going to Vienna was fun while I was there, and even more amazing in retrospect. Actually getting to say that I lived there, studied there, and became a part of the city through the course I was taking is something very special that only the other students who were with me can truly understand. With enough structured programs to be worth the tuition costs, but enough freedom to be WELL worth the vacation time, this course was something I'd love to take advantage of again some day—school doesn't get much better than that!”
Javier Perez-Afanador (American Studies)
“This course facilitated a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me in quite possibly the greatest city in the world. Without the cultural immersion and the in depth study, I wouldn't have known much of anything about Vienna beyond that of a tourist. Memory and the City unfurled Vienna so that I could savor its greatness and I couldn't have asked for anything more.”
Katie Leary (History and German)
“This trip truly changed my perspective about the world. I had traveled to many other places before, but my experience in Vienna was definitely unique. Living in a beautiful apartment in the center of the city I got to experience day-to-day life in the city just as any Viennese person living there would. Although I was only there for a month, my experience in Vienna is something I will always remember, and the city will always hold a special place in my heart.”
Kacie Gonzalez (American Studies and Spanish [Hispanic Linguistics])
“Vienna is perhaps the most underrated city in Europe and I couldn't think of a better way to experience it. Nothing compares to going to this wonderful place with a group of students and getting to know each other and ultimately yourself. Trust me, you'll never hear Billy Joel's Vienna the same way again.”
Chelsea Harmon (American Studies)
“My summer in Vienna has forever changed how I view the world. There are no words to adequately describe what we experienced and discovered living at 18 Dürergasse. I frequently look back at photographs and can remember each day; yet, it feels like a dream. Out of all of the cities I traveled to while in Europe, Vienna is the only city that I would move back to in a heart beat. Not only is the city amazing but the people are exceptionally helpful and I miss the food everyday. I believe that my connection with Vienna is strengthened because of what we learned in Professor Hoelscher’s class. I have a greater appreciation for what I see and what it means to the Viennese because of our excursions and discussions. We must have walked the entire city, and while tiring, it created memorable paths of culture and history. Professor Hoelscher and the IES staff went out of their way to present us with the Wienexperience and also take care of us and guide us the entire way. Learning about a far away land while in the middle of it piques a curiosity unreachable while sitting in a Texas classroom. I cannot wait to return one day and be able to explain and re-live everything that I have learned about the wonderful city.”
Vlad Codrea (Dean's Scholars Honors in Biochemistry)
“Vienna is steeped in history, music and natural beauty: medieval buildings and richly-endowed museums are just minutes away by foot from the majestic Danube, terraced heurigen and boar-inhabited forests. The lectures taught by Professor Hoelscher were given at the actual locations that we were studying, bringing about a meaningful connection with the events that took place there. Among the most memorable experiences outside of Vienna were visiting the Mauthausen concentration camp and the Hohensalzburg fortress in Salzburg. The program coordinators took great care to immerse students in the authentic aspects of Austrian culture, and I truly felt as if I was living in Vienna and not just visiting it.”
Hilary Lane (American Studies)
“Traveling to Vienna was one of the greatest experiences of my life. The city begs you to learn about its interesting history and experience the rich Viennese culture. I recommend this Maymester to anyone looking to travel to someplace that they might not have thought of before.”
Emma Dishner (Biology, Pre-Med)
“I truly loved this trip! Vienna is an amazing place full of culture, beauty, and great Austrian food. In this course I learned how this small country keeps its rich history, and in turn learned how we all choose what we want to remember.”