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Previous recipients of the scholarship always return after an incredible trip to Austria and their enthusiasm and love for the country is contagious.As a result there is never any difficulty in getting students to submit entries.Students learn a huge amount in the classes, but it is speaking German in informal situations that leads to an improved fluency in the language.
Students end up knowing more about Austria than Germany.
In fact, the roles in the classroom are reversed during the research period as it is the student that ends up educating me with facts of which I was unaware.
In 1632 the castle fought off 16,000 Swedish soldiers in defense of Catholicism.
The location is spectacular and you wonder how the residents of the castle braved the elements.
They develop an understanding of the Austrian people, their customs and traditions, their culture and the ,, Landeskunde’’.
This experience gives the students a reason to excel.The castle was built in the 13th century and was the seat of power in the area.Many battles were waged here, most against the Bavarians.Anyone can travel to a city and passively attempt to learn the language by doing a course, but it is the interaction with other young people that makes this such a coveted scholarship.It combines the familiar surroundings of a classroom with the freedom to explore the city.As the curriculum is very much dictated by rote learning, the essay competition for me as a teacher is a very welcome diversion.It showcases the imagination and creativity of young people.It’s a nice path, not too steep, that has been very well organized by the Austrian tourist authorities – there are interesting and informative signs in both German and English. Not just the ruins themselves but also the majestic location.This was true for all signage around the Ehrenberg Castle Ensemble, it was all very well organized. There we no other tourists, we were there all by ourselves.We wandered the fort for almost an hour, each view seemingly more impressive than the last.Further up, another half hour’s hike, is the Schlosskopf, while across the valley is the Claudia Fort.