American Studies
American Studies

What Students Have to Say About the Maymester in Vienna

2019 Testimonials:

Group Photo

McKenna Richards

McKenna Richards (Neuroscience)

It's difficult to put my experience in Vienna into words, but if I had to pick one word to sum up my month in this amazing city, it would be "magical." The experiences I had, people I met, and memories I made will always hold a special place in my heart. As a STEM major, I was excited to branch out and take this course, but was not sure how cultural memory would be relevant to life after Vienna. My uncertainty was absolutely proved wrong. I was challenged to think in different ways and gained skills applicable to any field of study, including my own of Neuroscience. As I approach my senior year, I can say without a doubt that Professor Hoelscher is the best professor I've had the privilege of learning from. While he certainly has a lot of knowledge to share, it's his passion for teaching and for Vienna in particular that made the course so engaging. He went out of his way to curate a program that is stimulating, educational, and interactive. I never felt like I was "going to class," yet I learned more than I ever thought possible, both about Vienna and myself. The amount of personal growth I experienced caught me by surprise, and with the independence and confidence I gained, I left Vienna a different person than when I arrived.

Oh, and I can't forget to mention that above all else, this program was FUN! Every day was filled with adventures with my classmates as we explored the city, both during class and in our free time. Bike rides on the Danube, trips to the Prater amusement park, and dinners at Heurigen in the Viennese countryside were all part of our daily lives. Afternoons consisted of walks throughout the city center, where a different site of history and culture lies around every corner. It sounds like something out of a movie, but for that month, it was our reality. I miss the Kettenbrückengasse U-Bahn station and daily gelato runs, but I will cherish my memories from that month for a lifetime. Even though I'm no longer in Wien, I have an incredible group of lifelong friends and I know that it's only a matter of time before I'll be back.

Ryanne Howard

Ryanne Howard (Anthropology)

What makes this Maymester stand out is that the class doesn’t really feel like class. Rather than sitting in a room, answering questions and poring over long texts, we were always out in the city, learning from the things we saw and felt, in addition to what we read. What you gain from this program is the ability to peel back the layers of history to see what Vienna once was and what it is now. Professor Hoelscher’s level of care and thought that went into each day was outstanding and made us love the city even more. From late night movie/dinner parties and inside jokes to evenings walking through the MuseumsQuartier and hiking up the apartment stairs after questing through the city in search of the perfect cone of gelato, every experience was memorable. Will you be tired at the end of the month? Yes. Will you be up late joking with your roommates over your lack of drawing skills as you laugh over your journal sketches? Probably. Will you ever have another opportunity to experience something as amazing as spending five weeks in the City of Music? Probably not. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to be a part of this Maymester. My only wish is that I could sign up again.

Llewyn Blossfield

Llewyn Blossfield (Art History)

Vienna, Memory and the City has been the most rewarding course I have taken at UT, and it's only 5 weeks long! Professor Hoelscher creates an educational, collaborative, personally enriching environment for students coming from every major. You will travel to traditional wineries, raft down the Danube River, and enjoy Viennese coffee in German class. You will ballroom dance, walk (sometimes skip) the city's streets, enjoy live orchestra and theater, and meet local Austrians (sometimes, grumpy older women). If you are lucky (and keep up with the reading!) you will have ample time to do so much more. There was never a day that we did not go out into Vienna without learning from the experience of exploring the city's rich history. You will learn how to analyze sites of memory based on popular culture, geographical changes, historical records, monuments, and more. For the final project, you will research a site of memory that is of interest to you, whether or not it is related to your major. I found this part of the class, during our final week, to be bittersweet: you are saying goodbye to your second home, while learning about its nooks and crannies from the friends you've made; it’s like a long, well-informed goodbye to Vienna (or, a lot of us insisted, a "see you later"!). One thing is certain: when you return home, you will miss this amazing city.

Jennifer Robinson

Jennifer Robinson (Finance)

 Since before I came to college, I knew I wanted to study abroad. What I didn't know, however, was how impactful my study abroad experience would be. When I found this program, Vienna: Memory and the City, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to expand my academic horizons and explore a subject different from my typical finance courses. Not only did I learn so much about Viennese history, memory, and the connections between the past and the present, but I also learned more about myself and the world around me than I could've ever learned without participating in this program. Professor Hoelscher has crafted this course to absolute perfection, and he goes out of his way to ensure each student has a meaningful learning and growing experience during the (all-too-short) 5 weeks in Vienna. The city is so rich in history and culture that it's impossible to go a day without uncovering something new. The people are full of stories, and their way of life, although different from ours, is undeniably appealing. Lastly, the people in the program—Professor Hoelscher included—are truly exceptional. From the first day of arriving in Vienna, everyone became so close, and we were all sobbing by the last day from goodbyes. To be able to share this experience with them, and with the guidance of Professor Hoelscher, was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I wish I could repeat every summer. I cannot express my gratitude enough to Professor Hoelscher, to my classmates, or to Vienna, for giving me such an incredible 5 weeks that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Gabriela Garcia (Anthropology)

My time in Vienna was surreal and magical. Sunny afternoons wandering through Vienna’s historic districts, evenings walking through vineyards or swimming at the Danube river—moments like these will live in my mind forever. It was incredible being able to learn the German language and be able to use the language, not only to order coffee after class, but also to understand cultural symbols and patterns stapled across the city. The historical significance that Vienna played globally for centuries is something that I LOVED learning about. Even though we were only there for 5 weeks, Vienna became a second home for me. I didn’t have internet data for the majority of the trip, and it’s crazy how quickly I was able to memorize the city’s map and get without GPS. That all happened while falling in love with Vienna's public transportation system. I can truthfully say that I lived and experienced more in those 5 weeks than I thought I would live and experience in a lifetime. Vienna is a beautiful city filled with wonder, romance, art, music, and everything else one could want in an ideal city. I fell in love with Viennese culture. Dr. Hoelscher curated this course perfectly and his knowledge of the city truly brought it to life in ways a tourist guidebook could never do."

Carson Wright

Carson Wright (History)

It’s really difficult to put my experience of the Vienna Maymester course into words. So much of what the course means to me is tied up with feelings about the places we studied. I can say that after this course I can find meaning in the most mundane places, like the Wiener U-Bahn or even the bedroom in the apartment that became my home-away-from-home. Professor Hoelscher has created a class that explores the city not just academically but physically, and along the way you gain an appreciation for narrow alleys just as much as for opulent cathedrals. Every day is a full schedule—out and about in the city (or countryside)—and there’s never a dull moment.

This course is laid out so that it has something for every student, regardless of academic interest. I came in wanting to learn about history; we studied that, but also city planning and the natural environment of the Danube River, among many other topics. One of my favorite things about the course is that, for the final project, Professor Hoelscher encouraged each of us to pursue our own interests. Learning about all the things that my classmates studied—all presented in the cemeteries, city parks, coffee houses, and horse shows—was a great way to wind up our time abroad. Vienna is awesome, this course is awesome, Professor Hoelscher is awesome, and they all have come together to greatly influence my academic and personal journey.

Aoife McDonnell

Aoife McDonnell (Plan II Honors and International Relations and Global Studies)

After learning about this Maymester at the Study Abroad fair and after researching this course, I thought it sounded almost too good to be true. Little did I know that the following May I would be waking up in a beautiful old Viennese apartment and taking the U-Bahn to the Baroque palace in which our daily German class would take place.

We were so fortunate to have Professor Hoelscher as our professor and guide. Through his selection of readings, lectures, and engaging class discussions, we truly got a deep understanding of Viennese identity and its relationship with cultural memory. This course is truly interdisciplinary; among many subjects we also learnt about Austrian-American relations, urban planning, and art history. This course prompted me to think about how easy it is to forget the past if it is not studied or memorialized.  Every day, after a very helpful German class, we would visit a new site of memory tied to a reading we had done the night before; we walked the Vienna Woods, went to the Opera, saw the Vienna Philharmonic, and visited an array of wonderful museums and art galleries. We not only became acquainted with the city itself but also with the surrounding area through touring the Wachau Valley, tackling the Danube on rafts, and exploring Salzburg. Professor Hoelscher also gave us the freedom to form our own relationship with Vienna by following our own interests and finding our own favourite parks, restaurants, and gelato shops!

My classmates also played a big part in the success of this Maymester. I really appreciate how much care Professor Hoelscher takes in choosing students from a variety of majors; my classmates all had diverse interests but all shared a spirit of adventure that made this trip even more wonderful. From movie nights in the spacious apartment, to attending a Viennese ball, and swimming in the Danube to beat the summer heat, I felt so lucky to explore Vienna with this particular group. On our long weekend, a group of us went hiking in the Alps and the experience of watching the sun set over the rolling meadows and mountain peaks is a memory that I will cherish. To anyone considering this course, I promise you that you will learn so much and have a magical six weeks that you will never forget. This course and Vienna itself cater to everyone's interests and I am counting the days until I can go back!

Zachary Larson

Zachary Larson (American Studies and English)

Professor Hoelscher’s “Vienna, Memory and the City” class represented an important step in my growth as a student. By studying abroad in the world's most livable city, I explored complex perspectives in European history and the motivations that drive selective cultural memory. With our assignments, I could discover new avenues of historical knowledge and, moreover, self-awareness. I learned to reflect more on each day and to close read the everyday life of a city. I found myself adopting some of the famed Viennese “gemütlichkeit,” or balanced lifestyle. I felt free to bask in the city's natural beauty and rest, and to exercise my mind, reading and writing in the Viennese coffee shop, often in the same day. The occasional gelato stop during a hard day of class in the city certainly helped, too.

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Alejandra Chapa

Alejandra Chapa (Health and Society)

It’s difficult to put into words my experience with this study abroad program and do it justice. Professor Hoelscher organized the course in a way that really made sense. Even as we covered a vast number of topics, the class flowed perfectly. In this Maymester, the city truly is your classroom. From parks to memorials to museums (and wineries!), Professor Hoelscher uses the amazing landscape offered by Vienna and Austria so that we can learn from the land itself, instead of a projector screen in a classroom. The program is structured in a way that balances class time and free time so that you can explore your own interests, whether that takes you on a visit to Schönbrunn Palace, people watching at the Burggarten, or on a walk by the Donaukanal. The beautiful scenery offered by this city and the surrounding villages provide the perfect setting to study and experience the cultural memory of the people of Austria and how it relates to our own American historical memory. This program will surely be the experience of a lifetime to anyone willing to embark on this study abroad journey. I know I will cherish my experience in this class for many years to come, and I can’t wait to go back to the magical city of Vienna.

Sarah Roessler

Sarah Roessler (Corporate Communications)

Going into this Maymester program, I had certain expectations. I thought I would learn about the city, improve my German, and make a few new friends. Little did I know, these expectations would be exceeded in every way possible. This course truly expanded the way I see the world and pushed me to think critically about my own perspectives and views. Through the class activities and my own personal experiences, I was able to come to know and love Vienna in a unique, personal way. Not only did I have the opportunity to practice and improve my German skills, but I grew to love the language even more and discovered a passion to continue learning! Throughout the month, I came to know every member of our group and developed friendships that will last beyond this course. This experience was so unique and fulfilling thanks to the time and care Professor Hoelscher put into planning this program. His contagious passion for Vienna and dedication to providing the best possible experience for every student made this month greater than I could have ever anticipated. I cannot recommend this program highly enough!

Rebecca Rogers

Rebecca Rogers (International Relations and Global Studies)

Prepare yourself for a thrilling and perfectly curated adventure under the Viennese sun. With Steve Hoelscher as your expert guide, mentor, and professor, there will never be a dull moment. Some of my most memorable experiences from studying abroad in Austria include watching Mozart's opera "The Magic Flute," feasting on endless amounts of schnitzel and wine at a local Heurigen, and rafting down the Danube River. Sign up for this program; you won't regret it!

Marley Philips

Marley Philips (Anthropology)

I could tell you over and over again just how great this program is, but I don’t think anyone can really understand unless they share in the experience, too. On one of our last days in the city, we went on a bike ride along the Donauinsel, or the man-made island that separates the Danube river. This simple experience was something I will never, ever forget. After a wobbly start, I found myself pushing down the pedals faster and faster. On my right, I could see the Danube waving at me in between trees and people sunbathing, fishing, wading into the water. The feeling of warm wind blowing your hair back while you race a never-ending sunset around the island is . . . almost indescribable. Eventually, we stopped to hop in the water ourselves before heading to dinner. On the ride back, golden hour became golden evening, and I swear, everything glowed. This is one of many, many memories I take back with me from Vienna, memories that have become my prized possessions.

If you go on this program, you can expect to learn, to live, to have fun, but most of all, you can expect to grow. In the spring semester before the Maymester, past students would visit us to talk about their own experiences, and I would think to myself “How can something really be that life changing?” But Vienna is so special. Its history, its people: there is really no place like it in the world. I think everyone has something to gain by looking at the lessons Vienna has learned. The magic happens when you take a place like that as your classroom, add in some classmates that become life-long friends, and a professor who truly cares about his students’ success.

Caroline Pease

Caroline Pease (Government)

It is virtually impossible to put into words how formative my experience in Vienna was. Professor Hoelscher could not be more knowledgeable about the city, and could not care more genuinely about his students’ personal and academic growth. Vienna is an absolute dream of a city, and I left with a newfound confidence to learn and explore. Despite the inevitably foreign nature of studying abroad for the first time in an unfamiliar country, every aspect of the place and the people truly made Vienna feel like a home away from home. I’m forever grateful for this program!

Allie Gretzinger

Allie Gretzinger (Urban Studies)

My experience in Vienna taught me a new way to view and experience cities. I learned the importance of considering historical context within an urban landscape and the effect people's collective historical memory can have on a city.  Dr. Hoelscher didn’t just teach me about “Memory in the City,” and we didn’t isolate one topic, such as history or cultural values. Rather, we viewed and experienced everything as a whole. I had never learned about the world in such a way. It was a truly eye opening and immersive experience.

After our class in Vienna, I went on to visit 15 other European countries, most of which were in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. However, I wasn’t coming to these countries as a simple tourist. Because of what I learned in this Maymester class, I was coming as a critical and observant visitor. My goal wasn’t to see the tourist highlights, but to immerse myself and to understand the historical and social context that shaped the cities around me. I never would have been able to do this if it wasn’t for my experience in Vienna. It changed how I view and experience the world. I cannot thank Dr. Hoelscher enough—not only for my experiences in Vienna, but for giving me the tools to explore the world further, with open and critical eyes. Now I don't want to sound cliché, but this really did influence my life in a powerful way.

Jillian McAlone (Corporate Communications)

 My experience in Vienna was absolutely phenomenal. I learned a great deal about Austrian identity and how it has changed throughout different time periods. But most importantly, I made some wonderful friends and created memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Professor Hoelscher has crafted the perfect program and I was so grateful to be a part of it.

2018 Testimonials:


Vivie Behrens (Studio Art)

It’s difficult for me to vocalize the extent of my gratitude for both the personal and academic rewards I’ve felt by participating in the Vienna: Memory and the City Maymester program. I arrived home a month ago, and still every day I am surprised by how often I encounter things I’ve learned, both about a bustling, idyllic foreign place, but also about myself and my American home. I strongly recommend the program for any student, regardless of field or interest, because the course builds in such a variety of study – from art and music, urban ethnography, politics, psychology, architecture, environmental studies – AND an array of activities – hiking through the Vienna woods, sampling wine and schnitzel at local Heurigans, canoeing, listening to live operas and symphonies, and stopping for gelato – all included. When I came back to my Austin friends, they asked if I even took a course — “You always looked like you were out on the town having a blast in pictures.” While, YES, I made some of the happiest memories, I did so also knowing that I was learning a great deal. The course examines how people create contemporary culture by building upon both the great successes and failures of the past, celebrating the bygone treasures and ignoring history’s horrors. Vienna is the perfect place to explore this concept; it is truly a land that makes peace between the old and the new. 

Now, a word about Professor Hoelscher: it’s not often that you find a mentor who deeply respects academic inquiry, but also equally recognizes the value of personal exploration, especially during a time when students have an opportunity to discover the unknowns of a new world. Prof. Hoelscher delicately planned each class, reading, and adventure, (often building in surprises along the way), but also understands (from studying abroad in Vienna himself in his 20’s!) the importance of letting students explore their own interests. He makes room to do so in plenty of allotted free time, but also within the parameters of the course itself. Prof. Hoelscher is the perfect guide, offering both humor and wisdom, and he provides an example of lifelong learning, simultaneously embodying an image of a careful critic, but also of a creative thinker and modest leader. 

All I can say is that if you have the chance to take this class, jump on it. You will return home feeling full, not just with Apfelstrudel, but with a trove of cherished memories, and with a curiosity to explore your own world with fresh eyes, clearer and wider open. 

Rian Pettit (Psychology)

It’s hard to sum up my time in Vienna with just a few sentences, but the course was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. Dr. Hoelscher did a wonderful job at creating a well-planned program that made every class day worthwhile, along with giving everyone theopportunity to connect this class to their different interests. The days consisted of class excursions to museums, memorials, and other sites dedicated to preserving the history of Vienna. Throughout the month, I was able to meet and interact with locals, try tasty Viennese food, brush up on my German, and connect with my peers. During this Maymester, I not only gained academic knowledge, but I also gained a sense of independence, new friendships, and an appreciation for Vienna. It completely exceeded my initial expectations and I know this experience is something that I will always carry with me.


Sarah Hyden (Urban Studies)

Every expectation that I carried with me to Vienna was surpassed during my time there. I knew it would be an incredible city, but this course is definitely the best way to experience it to the fullest. Professor Hoelscher puts so much thought and care into all aspects of planning the class, and his love for both Vienna and teaching in general is always evident. I loved getting to explore such a wide range of topics in the context of the city’s rich history as well as how it exists today, and we stayed true to the theme of memory the whole time. Talking about cultural memory and its impact on the present provided such an interesting lens through which to look at history, something totally unique to this course. I had an amazing time exploring Vienna and the Austrian countryside, trying new foods, growing close to my classmates, and learning SO much. The engaging content and the opportunity to live in such an awesome city made this program the best experience!

Emily Want (Plan II and Management Information Systems)

My experience in Vienna can be summarized in three words: scenery, enlightenment, and friendship. Being in the beautiful city of Vienna itself, with its endless sights of historical buildings and the glistening Danube River, was unforgettable. Professor Hoelscher and the program gave me an awareness of a world and a time beyond my own that has truly allowed me to better understand and appreciate other cultures and history. And I will forever treasure the friends and memories I've made through the program.  I hope to return to Vienna one day. Ich liebe Wien

Nikki Lopez (History, Mexican-American Studies)

Although the Maymester was only 4 1/2 weeks long, Vienna became my home-away-from-home. In a short amount of time, everyone in the course became good friends. From going to the Viennese Ball or watching the World Cup on the Danube, this experience would have not been the same without the love we had for each other and the city. Dr. Hoelscher’s fondness for Vienna is reflected in the program. It was curated so that we can take in as much of Vienna as we can as a class, but also individually. His class has taught me how to be critical of cities, and Vienna was a perfect setting to practice this. Vienna itself has such a unique identity and we were able to go in-depth on how its historical elements play a role in the functioning of the city. Every day was always a little adventure because we would go somewhere new and exciting. Furthermore, Vienna raised my expectations for public transportation. The U-Bahn holds a special place in my heart.


Emma Robinson (American Studies)

Since I've come home from the Vienna Maymester program, my family and friends have asked me to tell them all about my month abroad. I find myself unable to fully describe my experience in words that justify the amazing time I had in Vienna. I will randomly start telling a story about how I waltzed through a palace at a Viennese ball. Or, how I ate dinner in a building that had been serving food to travelers since the 800s. Most of the experiences I encountered in Vienna were things I didn't even know existed or things I didn't even know were possible. In this program, the city of Vienna is your classroom. Professor Hoelscher gave us a completely hands-on experience, as we studied the history and the culture of the city. Instead of just telling us where Mozart was born, Professor Hoelscher took to Salzburg. Professor Hoelscher gave us ample time and resources to explore the city and to form our own opinions and our own experiences in Vienna. The program was structured in a way that encouraged us to find our own little niche in a foreign country. I don't think I will ever stop smiling and laughing as I look back on my month in truly the weirdest (in the best way possible) wonderland-like city, Vienna. 

Katelyn Connolly (English)

The Maymester program in Vienna was one of the best experiences I've had in college. The city itself is beautiful, and after just a few weeks there, I really felt at home! Dr. Hoelscher does a fantastic job organizing the course around fascinating museums, locations and excursions, and bringing in guest speakers that made me think about things in new ways. Plus, he really encouraged everybody in the class to get out of their comfort zones and taste, try, explore and embrace everything that Vienna has to offer. From world-class classical music concerts to traditional meals in picturesque Viennese Heurigen (wine gardens where we drank from the very grapes that were growing all around us), from museums showcasing stunning works by Klimt and Schiele to grueling hikes up hills offering panoramic views of quaint villages, there was never a dull moment in this course. I was a bit nervous before arriving in Vienna, as many people probably are when traveling internationally alone for the first time, but our eclectic and hilarious group of students quickly built strong and supportive friendships. It's easy to be bonded by the excitement and adventure when studying abroad! And with a group of buddies behind me, I wasn't afraid to talk to locals and discover amazing out of the way places.

All in all, I can't imagine a program with a better combination of learning, fun and valuable new perspectives. I can't speak highly enough of Dr. Hoelscher, who made it all happen. His course truly can appeal to people of any and all interests and majors, and he makes every single student feel comfortable, regardless of their level of experience with international travel. As we often said on our trip, prepare to "squeeze the juice" out of your time in Vienna and just say YES to exploring a museum, visiting a palace garden, going out for famous Viennese coffee, or checking out a local event... even if you're tired! Five weeks will fly by all too fast, and you'll leave with the hope of returning again as soon as possible.

Confidence Niabari Koboo (Biochemistry, Pre-Med)

After recovering from the initial shock of being thrust into a whole new world, Vienna naturally became my home. Names of locations that I could not initially understand evolved into meaningful places:  Kettenbrückengasse (my subway station station); Hofer (my grocery store); Dürergasse (my apartment); Neubaugasse (the street that became my shopping center). Vienna is an ancient city that holds so much history, and I was blessed to have the opportunity to learn all about it. The world is so much bigger than America and Vienna is an amazing place to start. This was my first time abroad and I loved every second of it, from eating Wiener Schnitzels to riding the U-Bahn to visiting numerous sites of memory. Thank you, Vienna, for sharing your history with me and for allowing me to take a little piece of you back with me!


Christopher Hernandez (American Studies)

This is truly a unique course that is unlike any other I have taken here at UT; I will take what I have learned during our month in Vienna with me through the rest of my life. Professor Hoelscher challenges you every day, and together we studied geography, architecture, culture, history, and, most importantly, cultural memory in Vienna—a perfect city for study abroad. The course material is truly diverse, and there is a something for everyone, whether you’re a bio or history major. Vienna is also a gorgeous city that I fell in love with on the first day. From seeing the architecture, to eating the Wiener Schnitzel, to attending the operas, even just to riding the public transportation: there is just so much to do! In this course, there is also a lot of personal time, which is something I found amazing. I had time to do what I found interesting, like visiting museums or just walking in a park, or visiting the Imperial Crypts. There are even optional activities that were truly unforgettable, like a 16-mile hike through the Vienna Woods! This program is an amazing experience.


Adrienne Doyle (Psychology)

The month I lived in Vienna taught me more about history, myself, and critical thinking than I had ever experienced in my two years at the university. This course completely changed my way of thinking and my perspective of the urban landscape around me. Dr. Hoelscher is an expert in Geography and American Studies, and, most importantly, Vienna. I knew very little about the city going into this course and he made it a point to encourage me and my classmates to go out of our comfort zones as we explored the city. I quickly learned that the efficient public transportation, the emphasis on music and arts, and the thoughtful urban design make Vienna the dreamiest city I have ever lived in. Whether it was walking past an opera singer in the U-Bahn station or hanging out on the Danube River with classmates, my month in Vienna felt unreal; is truly impossible to put into words. I made best friends and wonderful memories, and even learned some German. The Vienna Maymester will forever be a period of my life that I look back on as a time of tremendous growth, both personally and intellectually. A part of me will always feel homesick for Vienna, a city that forever changed my life.

Alex George (International Relations and Global Studies)

Prior to starting this Maymester, I remember reading through previous testimonials by students who had taken this course in the past. I was in awe at the magnitude of their love for Vienna and their admiration for Professor Hoelscher. After living in Vienna for a month I can attest to all of it. This program changed my life. It gave me confidence in my ability to maneuver in a city that was initially unfamiliar, and to communicate with others no matter what cultural or language boundaries that may divide us. In one month, Vienna became my home, as I traveled on the U-Bahn to and from class, rode the city bikes to dinner, and became a regular at a coffee shop near our German class. Not only was this program an outlet of growth for me personally, but I met some of the most incredible people imaginable. In a matter of days, people you once knew as classmates in Austin become family in Vienna. The bonds that I have created with those who accompanied me on our Viennese adventure can never be broken. Together, we also developed relationships with locals that I will cherish forever. Professor Hoelscher strategically plans his lectures and our excursions to maximize our time and experiences in Vienna and its surrounding cities. His ability to act as a teacher, friend, and support system during the program is meaningful in ways that he will never know. I will forever be thankful for this incredible experience, which has left me curious about the rest of the world. One thing I can guarantee is that I will make my way back to the wonderful city of Vienna, one way or another. 


Crystal Juarez (Nutrition)

My four and a half weeks in Vienna was an incredible, beautiful experience. Having a small class allowed for an intimate, casual environment of learning from each others’ thoughts. I truly felt encouraged to learn about the city and its history, and I enjoyed actually standing before the monuments or artworks that we were learning about. I miss taking the U-bahn, walking through beautiful buildings, and spotting cafes at every corner. It’s inevitable to fall in love with Vienna.


Paige Vinnicombe (Physical Culture and Sports)

This study abroad program was truly an incredible experience. Not only were the students amazing individuals, but Professor Hoelscher was a fantastic professor who clearly put so much time and effort into our class and itinerary to make our time in Vienna as informative, pleasant, and well-rounded as possible. I would go back with my class to this beautiful city in a heartbeat and cannot wait until the day I have the chance to go back to Vienna.


James Mashburn (International Relations and Global Studies)

The month we spent in Vienna was an amazing experience full of learning, adventures, some misadventures, incredible memories, and new friends. Professor Hoelscher was extraordinarily passionate about every facet of the course and he made sure that all of us got the very most out of our time abroad. From mingling with Viennese society at a ball to rafting down the Danube to buying groceries with elementary German, every day was a new adventure. I am so glad I decided to take this study abroad course, where I met new friends, learned new things, and experienced an entirely new culture that challenged me and helped me grow. Truly Professor Hoelscher has crafted an amazing experience and I only wish it could have lasted longer.


Emma Walker (Geography and History)

Studying abroad in Vienna made me into a more conscious and culturally-aware individual. In addition to the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to learn about art, history, architecture, and cultural memory, one of my favorite aspects of the program was the time allotted to create my own unique experiences. I feel like I grew a deal during the periods I spent alone or with a few classmates, decoding the people and aura of this uniquely captivating city.


Raj Sharan (Biology, Pre-med)

When I arrived in Vienna and met with my classmates for the first time, I wasn’t sure how well we’d get along. True, we gotten to know each other a little during the preparatory course last spring, but I didn’t really know what to expect from everyone. Luckily, we had the two best catalysts to promote interactions: first, was the city that we began exploring together. In Vienna, there’s something to do around every corner, and so much history that you couldn’t see it all even if you lived there for a year. The second catalyst was having the best possible guide to lead us through our Maymester, Dr. Hoelscher. My classmates and I found our way into an uncountable number of fun and interesting situations, each bringing us closer to one another. By the end, we had become good friends, making my experience in Vienna that much better.


Kaitlyn Gilmore (Psychology)

Vienna was the best place to study for my first time in Europe, and a place that became home for me. Spending time in that wonderful city revealed the beauty that already existed in my life at home, yet also exposed me to new ways of life that have made me happier. There is such an incredibly expansive history in Vienna that I had no idea existed, and I felt so lucky to be with seventeen other diverse students and a sincere, brilliant professor; they all helped me gain many perspectives as I was learning the complicated history. Not only did I learn during class hours, but I was constantly soaking up knowledge during every minute in the many parks, in my historic apartment, at the grocery stores, walking along the Danube, sitting in cafes, and spending time with all of my peers. I cannot wait to go back to this remarkable city, and I recommend this Maymester to everyone.

2017 Testimonials:



Rachel Vaughn (Plan II, History)

I recall reading through testimonials of previous students in this program, and being surprised at how vehemently people adored it, and now I understand and have joined their ranks. I probably pinched myself every day of the Vienna Maymester, just to make sure that this was real, that I wasn’t living in a movie, or a dream, and I wouldn’t wake up bereft of the experience or the memories. I had to be sure that I was really zooming through the Austrian countryside or laughing hysterically with amazing new friends, or that I was really wandering through cobblestone streets and, despite warnings from almost everyone, tripping in heels on said cobblestone streets, that I was truly learning about history, cities, music, art, geography, memory in the places that they had happened from experts in their fields, and of course the greatest expert of all Professor Hoelscher. There’s really no one better suited to organize and lead a group of initially clueless students around Austria, no one better to encourage and draw even shy people out of their comfort zones, no one better to infuse the class with a sense of adventure, spontaneity, and wisdom. There’s also no program better, as I am now convinced, to give people a taste of life and learning abroad that I will treasure for life. I treasure many gorgeous mountain hikes and views, and world-class art museums, public parks and fresh strawberries, climbing four stories to an apartment, eating (way too much) just the right amount of ice cream, ordering sandwiches in rudimentary German, and above all the lovely people I now call dear friends. I’m on the other side of it now looking back, and I suppose I have woken up, but I carry the people, the place, the yellow city of Vienna in my dreams, in my heart, in my memory.

lgLinda Gomez (International Relations and Global Studies)

The time we all spent in Vienna was much more than just a study abroad experience. I can say without hesitation that thanks to the curriculum Dr. Hoelscher so carefully curated, we all had the opportunity to truly experience life in Vienna, or “Leben in Wien,” as the Viennese would say. From visiting some of the most gorgeous museums, monuments and attractions of Austria, learning how to use the local U-Bahn public transportation system, to having to fend for ourselves in local grocery stores, we had the chance to fully immerse ourselves into daily life in Vienna. I can’t tell you how rewarding it was live in that city and come together daily to talk about how its past was a part of our present, every step of the way. This program wasn’t so much about us leaving our mark on Vienna, but more so about allowing the city to leave its mark on us, as individuals from all walks of life. The experiences I had and the people I got to meet during those five weeks changed me and taught me that education isn’t just confined to a classroom or lecture hall. The moments where we all learned the most happened during our daily interactions with each other during our discussions, with the local Viennese, and the city itself. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I would recommend to anyone who wants to truly immerse themselves into a different culture and who isn’t afraid to enroll in the school of life.

cbCharlie Bell (American Studies)

The four and a half weeks I spent in Vienna were full of surprises, personal growth, knowledge and memories made. Living in this city will enlighten you with the amazing benefits of urban living, and what smart growth and planning over time can do to the culture of an urban environment. This is just one positive side effect of the quality of teaching Dr. Steve Hoelscher gave us. His selection of topics and discussions are perfectly tailored to a point in Vienna’s history, allowing us to learn more and more about the city, one location at a time. The apartments we lived in, located in the highly desired sixth district, were amazing - down the block from a central U-Bahn stop, a stone’s throw away from the famous Naschmarkt, and a short walk to the entertaining Mariahilferstraße and MuseumsQuartier areas.  The food alone was one of the best aspects of this trip. Our weeks in Vienna wouldn’t be complete without endless schnitzels, beer, coffee, and wine, every meal better than the one before. I am grateful for the friends made, including one in the best professor at the University of Texas, and the lasting impact this program will have on my life, both personally and professionally. I cannot recommend it enough!


Dusty Lorenz (International Studies and Global Relations)

I cannot overstate both the academic and personal insight I gained from this program. This was a wonderful, interactive course with a dream of a classroom (all of Vienna!) and instructor. I could say so much, but I’ll summarize it as a truly one of a kind experience. 

bgBailey Glenn (Applied Learning and Development)

I don’t think anyone will understand how much this adventure to Vienna has impacted my life. The city was incredible and around every corner was something unique. Vienna has its own personality and is different from better-known cities like London or Paris. Vienna is subtle with its welcome to you, but you can’t hold back, you have to jump headfirst and become a part of its natural flow. Even after a week of being there, I felt like one of the locals and found my place in that beautiful, amazing, eclectic place (which is now my home-away-from-home). Not only did the city have an impact on me, but so did the people I went with. Before this course, I had no idea who anyone was, and but I soon got to know and love these people; I know it may sound corny, but they will be forever in my heart. We explored together on countless adventures:  hiking 18 miles through the Vienna Woods (yes, that’s 18 miles), visiting museums and studying their meaning, going to a Viennese ball; we laughed together, cried together (the goodbyes were very hard…), and we grew together in ways we would’ve never imagined. And the professor (Steve!) is the person to thank for so much of this! He is the most genuine and kind-hearted person I know and it was an honor to be able to study with him; he has changed my life for the better. He is so dedicated to the class and is always willing to listen and hear what you have to say. Words truly can’t describe how forever grateful I am for this amazing adventure and how I fell in love with the beautiful city of Vienna.

shenZili Shen (Astronomy)

The month I spent in Vienna is among the most transformative experiences in my life. Dr. Hoelscher took us through Vienna and its history, and the city itself became our classroom. We got to experience the city in its full complexity, but also had enough freedom to spend an evening sitting in the Burggarten watching sunset and smelling roses, or to attend a Viennese Ball! Even as a science student, I found the course extremely relevant and the learning process engaging. 

cnClarice Norton (Geography)

This study abroad class was tailored by Dr. Hoelscher to be accessible to a wide range of students. Tons of adventures were packed into the few weeks given and each one taught a unique lesson. I thoroughly enjoyed our many excursions, especially the moonlight hike through the Vienna woods and the trip to Salzburg. The city of Vienna has a complex and rich history that is embedded in the buildings of the Ringstrasse, as well as the entire city. This course explores that history and connects it to all majors ranging from Geography to Psychology. I also enjoyed getting a glimpse into the story of a city that I didn't even realize was so crucial to many parts of our past. Altogether, the lessons learned in class made the lessons learned back home so much more concrete and real.

bbBlake Berry (Biology Honors)

This Maymester consisted of 5 unforgettable weeks of new and exciting experiences. Vienna truly became my home and I fell in love with the city through Dr. Hoelscher's class and plenty of free time to explore the city for myself. I was able to experience such a large variety of activities including attending concerts, rafting the Danube, hiking the Vienna Woods, exploring museums, and so much more. Every day is a new adventure in one of the best cities in the world consisting of learning some German, participating in intriguing discussion at various sights of memory, and then enjoying the city and other weekend destinations with your new friends and classmates. There is not a better way to spend the first month of summer.

ferFernanda Sepulvada (International Relations and Global Studies)

Study abroad experiences can be intimidating, but just as all my classmates and professor opened me with open arms, so did Vienna. I got the opportunity to meet some amazing Austrians with so many different back stories, and got to know my fellow UT peers on a much deeper level. Knowing the history of Vienna, I was able to appreciate the city so much more. A butt load of laughs, insightful discussions, and bittersweet tearful goodbyes encompassed my study abroad experience and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

joeJoe Retter (Electrical Engineering)

The Vienna Maymester program is an action-packed crash course on memory in the most livable city in world. Every day was a unique adventure as we held class around the city, discussing topics ranging from urban studies to music to architecture. I learned so much from Dr. Hoelscher and my classmates. Also, there is a never-ending number of things to do in your free time. Take a nap in one of the many wonderful parks, wander through a music festival, dance the night away at a Viennese ball, take a day trip to Slovakia, or go swimming in the Danube. Through it all, I met some awesome people and had many experiences with them that I'll never forget. Vienna is your classroom, your playground, and your home. This is a great study abroad program because it literally cannot be held anywhere else in the world.

phePhoenix Alfaro (Urban Studies)

From attending a Viennese Ball and learning traditional dances, to rafting the Danube River and exploring the ruins of castles, my summer in Vienna was a surreal experience. This program ensured we were immersed in the cultural landscape of the city, creating a unique experience that can not be achieved in a regular classroom setting. Dr. Hoelscher's passion for teaching the course made every lecture engaging and interesting, whether we were learning about Sigmund Freud or World War II. Vienna is a dynamic city that can cater towards anyone's personal interests. As an urban studies major, Vienna taught me a lot about effective urban planning and how past events have shaped the city's attitude towards the environment and social equity. Studying abroad in this city was one of the best decisions I made in undergrad and I would highly recommend it to any student!

hhHolly Hodson (Anthropology and Geography and the Environment)

This Maymester program was the opportunity of a lifetime. There is no better way to learn about a city and appreciate the connections between history, culture, and the present than living in it. As for this city itself, you can't help but fall in love Vienna, and I don't know why you'd want it any other way.

LDLeanne Dixon (Psychology)

While studying in Vienna, I learned a lot about history, art, cities, geography, and more. However, what I value most from the experience is what I learned about people and about myself.

2015 Testimonials:


rbRebecca 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. 

sSarah 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."

joJosh 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.

bByrn 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!

mkMary 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!

ppPriscila 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!

kbKimberly 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.

sjSharon 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.

aAnahi 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.

cCole 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. 

bbBlake 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.

dDevi 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!

amAmy 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. 

kkKallie 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!

samSam 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!

jgJessica 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.

mhMemo 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!"

bBarbara 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.

2013 Testimonials:

Maymester 2013

zZakiya 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.

aAlexia 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!

reReena 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!

aAmy 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.

vVivian 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. 

jaJayshree 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!

thThomas 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.  

sarSarah 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.

daDawn 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.

trMeredith 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.

samSam 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.

sSimi 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.

naNatalie 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.

mMeredith 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.

msMelanie 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.

cCourtney 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.

2011 Testimonials:

adAdy 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.

kKylie 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.

rgRitika 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. 

joeJoseph 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. 

vVienna 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.  

kKristin 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.

cChristine 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. 

ccCassie 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.

vVictoria 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.

ktKristin 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.

ggGrant 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.

eEmily 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.

kmKatherine 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.

tTaylor 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. 

scSara 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!

 2009 Testimonials:

sjSarah 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.”

vValerie 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!”

abAbby 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."

kKevin 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!"

eElizabeth 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!"

mMicah 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."

sSonia 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."

rSascha 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!”

thTyler 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."

jaJeremy 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."

DLDenise 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!"

2007 Testimonials:

aAlisha 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."

aAnnabel 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!

sbSteven 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.”

mMarcela 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.”

jpJenny 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!”

jpJavier 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.”

 klKatie 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.”

kgKacie 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.”  

chChelsea 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.”     

vladVlad 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.”

hilHilary 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.”

emmaEmma 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.”