The Return of the Blog: Austria and my Hiatus from Blogging

It’s been quite a while since I’ve updated this blog. I originally stopped blogging because I accepted a teaching assistantship in Austria. I had to focus all my energy in meeting the demands of teaching at two schools. I didn’t realize that I would be entering into a position supervised by someone, who would never be happy with what I did. The teaching assistantship didn’t lead to a teaching career for me, and I was burnt out of the teaching field because it ended up that one of the schools I taught in had a toxic work environment. The unreasonable demands and conflicts with scheduling at my main school took far more of my time than it should have. This left me with minimal time for my other school, which  displeased my supervisor there. Therefore, my first impression of teaching in secondary schools was extremely negative. (It would have been nice if someone from the other school would have listened to me, though, when I explained my concerns.) The director of my teaching assistantship ended up pulling me out of my main school before my contract was up, due to the toxic situation.

The following year, I moved to Vienna to do the entrance exams for the transcultural communication Bachelor’s of Arts program at Uni Wien. I had originally wanted to do their translation Master’s program. However, higher education in the U.S. is a bit outdated on the standards that students must meet to do translation Master’s degrees in Europe, or in general, since I can’t find an affordable, quality program in the U.S. either. I suppose it’s my fault for not knowing exactly what I wanted when I was 18. But the Bachelor’s degree I received is not sufficient for me to do a translation Masters anywhere I’ve looked. I kind of regret not double-majoring in communications, because not having enough credits in my comm. minor to do a comm. Master’s in Europe has also hindered me in my search for Master’s degree programs taught in German, since Communication Management was my backup plan. Either way, it looks like I have to do a second BA if I want to switch fields. I don’t want to take out anymore loans to do in the U.S, since it’s my goal to study in a German-speaking country.

While in Vienna, I did open WordPress several times and stare at a blank document. I  didn’t know what to say. As time went on and I stayed away longer from blogging, it became more difficult to think of “interesting things” to write about. Not to mention, my time in Vienna was extremely turbulent as well.  I ended up trashing the idea of studying at the University of Vienna, as I was not happy with the translation and interpreting faculty.  Not only were the amenities very bare-bones–but I was not happy with the quality of assistance and feedback I received. I have colleagues in the Master’s program, who have recently expressed to me their unhappiness with that program that I would be putting 3 years into a second B.A. in just to reach. One person I know recently left the program completely and is looking at other options. I don’t want to waste three years of my life only to be dissatisfied with the M.A. program too.

That semester I started my studies (in 2016), the transcultural communication entrance exams and the entire program itself also changed. What’s resulted is an increase of negative student reviews on studycheck.at and confusion in the student-run facebook groups. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one leaving the BA program dissatisfied. I’m not the only one, who seemed to be presented with an impossible situation. I could not even sit for my entrance exams, which I worked so hard to study for that winter semester. Previously, the faculty had students register for STEOPs and exam via a paper system in the office–you’d fill out a form and leave it in a designated mailbox. That semester, they switched to the electronic registration system the other faculties used through the uni portal website. However, there was no way to check to see if your registration went through, except that it would show up on your page. My STEOP registrations did show up on my page. But during the holiday break, they suddenly disappeared and there was no one in the office to assist me. By the time holiday break ended, it was too near to the exam dates for anyone to do anything for me (or the staff then just didn’t want to be bothered *casts shade*). So I will become a translator some other way, I suppose.

I am reviving the blog to write about travel tips I have amassed over the last 8 years. I sure don’t have much to show for a career, but I do know how to make your travels around Central Europe easier and more interesting. I would also like to write more in-depth about university student life in Austria and some concerns I had that are shared with other students I’ve encountered.

I’m frustrated with myself for being too depressed and stressed out to continue blogging while I had such a great opportunity in Vienna. This could have been a means of getting myself out of my student apartment and experiencing more than I did. I was often upset or ill, though. There was too much stress in my life from trying to pass those exams, and then later trying to build up a freelance career in something else so that I would have enough evidence to apply for a residence permit as self-employed. Obviously, that didn’t work out either.

I would also be happy to take requests from readers–if I can figure out this SEO thing and find more readers–if you have any questions about:

  • Life in Austria
  • Technical immigration stuff (since I did all that crap by myself and managed when many do not–Austria is a difficult country to legally migrate to)
  • General travel tips for Central Europe
  • TEFL programs for young people, etc.

Hit me up in the comments.

 

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Back in the States after a long Few Weeks of Travel

It was brought to my attention that I haven’t updated  the blog for a very long time. First of all, I apologize if anyone else happened to be looking out for one of my random posts. But I must explain myself. In the beginning of June, I started work on another post that requires quite a lot of research and thought. I underestimated how much time exactly it would take to put it together. As a result, I ended up burning myself out and I just had to give up temporarily on it. Then, my German history exam and all the studying I had to do to prepare for that came up. Right after taking this final exam, my boyfriend and I left for his parents’ house. That was when I became too busy to update my blog or work on my writing projects.

The last few weeks have included a day trip to a small town in Poland (the name of which I can’t remember–maybe my boyfriend will comment and remind me of the name of the city we were in 😉 ), a weekend trip to Slovakia, a weekend with my host family in Graz, Austria, moving out of my flat in Brno, three last nights in Prague with my boyfriend, being detained by security in Poland because my visa had expired the day before, and finally returning to the United States. (If anyone is interested, today I also got a haircut.) I’ve been back in the States for almost a week. I’m wondering if I should start texting people on my own, or continue to wait for them to text me, because I haven’t hung out with any of my friends since I’ve been back and everyone was so insistent that we hang out as soon as I came back. (Now, I understand there are busy exceptions who I’ve made plans with but we unfortunately cannot get together until a few weeks from now, but the amount of people bummed that I was out of the country and the amount of people calling my phone now are not equivalent. It’s an odd phenomenon, but also an experience I’ve had before. The last time I returned from a year abroad the same situation occurred. I’m at peace with the fact that people who were my good friends before I left last September will probably no longer be friends of mine next September. It happens. But nothing can make this not feel weird.

I hate how many of my international and Czech friends I will probably never see again. Or, if we do see each other again, it won’t be for a very long time. It is so weird that last month I woke up every morning next to my boyfriend and told him immediately about the nightmares and weird dreams I had. Now though, if I want to talk to him about the dreams of the night before, I must go downstairs, turn on the computer, and hope that he is on Skype. (This is another reminder that I need to ask for more people’s skype I.D.s because I only have two contacts.) It frightens me that a few of my international friends are returning to countries, which have recently become a lot less safer than they were before my friends had left (Egypt, Turkey, Syria) and I hope for the best for them and that we can meet again in the future someplace safe.

Every year for the last four years, I have felt like my life was starting over again or everything was changing and I had entered some kind of new era of my life. This year is no different. I feel like I’m starting over again from the beginning. I don’t want to do exactly what I did the last year I spent studying in the U.S. I want to try something new. I want to gain more experience working either as a German tutor or translator. But the lack of opportunities that I am finding in St. Louis right now is frustrating. I feel like I’m about to attempt to push a boulder up a hill, honestly. I’m just warming up. It’s really hard not to be overwhelmed by the frustration though, and I’m bracing myself for the next few weeks. I keep telling myself that I just started looking and that it will take some time. However, I don’t listen. I’ve always been stubborn.

Reasons why Setting aside time for studying Results more often in Completed Short Stories than a Good Grade on a Test

At least, for me it does.

For the past week, I’ve been setting aside 3-4 hours per day to read through the sections of my German linguistics text book that I am guessing will be on the exam later this week. But it’s a really heavy, yet dry task. Nearly all of the vocabulary is new and there are so many unfamiliar abbreviations within the texts that my professors copy-pasta’d into some Word documents and did not bother to explain in class or on the text itself, that I am constantly having to google. I feel like I am learning more about German shorthand than I am about linguistics.

Not to mention, nearly all of the vocabulary is new and it doesn’t help that with the introduction of every single new word, they are also giving me the word in Latin and Greek (yes, Greek letters included), as if this is helpful or important. As you can guess, I am becoming frustrated. This weekend, I have completed more stories and made more progress on my ongoing saga about Lenore, the Schizophrenic who someone let move to Austria against their better judgment and take a holiday in Prague, than any actual studying. I feel really good about my writing career, but terribly uncertain about my future in translation. Also, I’m not even sure when the exam is, so wish me luck. I think I may end up like poor Lenore: mad, raving, and wandering around Prague in search of absinthe.