Guess who’s back!

Well seen as I have been in Austria for approximately two weeks now, I thought it was about time that I got down to documenting a few things that have been going on.

My journey began once more at Manchester Airport when I once again stayed the night at Premier Inn before flying early the next morning. It still meant an early morning start but at least I could get some mildly acceptable amount of sleep before the journey. Plus, to quote Miranda..I do love a good hotel room. I ordered pizza, made full use of the tea and coffee, then watched X factor from the bath with a facemask on. Perfection.

Above the clouds

My journey here this time was considerably simpler than the last time, involving only one flight from Manchester to Vienna then a train journey down through the mountains before arriving back in Graz. There was something quite homely about stepping down to the familiar platform and knowing which bus to take and what ticket to ask for etc. it made me really appreciate the fact that I wasn’t doing this for the first time. Returning to my old flat and flatmate was also just the best, it felt like I’d never left!

I wanted to document my journey in a fun and different way so I video blogged some bits and pieces along the way!

The next few days I spent attempting to sort out my room and some laborious admin but in fact I spent a lot of time wandering round the city, taking pictures and pretending that I was here for the first time taking in the beauty of Austria. I got strangely emotional in a way whilst walking through the centre; when I left last time I said that I would be back one day, but deep down I was never quite sure where life would take me! All I knew was that I fell for the city and Austria itself so it was certain I was going to do all I could to get back!

Rathaus/Townhall, Graz
Uhrturm, Schlossberg

After a week of settling back into austrian life it was time to head off up north to St. Pölten in Niederösterreich, an hour or so from Vienna, for a week of teacher training. We stayed in a big youth hostel type place where we shared a room with another teaching assistant and we had the chance to meet everyone who would be working in Austria too from the UK and the US. There was, however, no danger or no chance to be shy about meeting people as that evening we were involved in a crash course folk dance workshop. By which I mean a group of almost 80 or so young people, most with two left feet, embarrassed ourselves and were, for the most part, a bit of a lost hope. Nevertheless it was a bit of fun and there’s no better way to break the ice than to be forced to Waltz with strangers…

Most of the training week, however, did not consist of dancing, but we actually had to learn something and figure out how we were going to survive the next year as teaching assistants! This meant lots of classes, discussions, activities and even a morning for test-run teaching at a local school. Overall it was an invaluable few days away, not just because we got to meet everyone and make some friends but also because most of us came away saying how much more confident we felt about the coming year! I got the train back on Friday around lunch time with a couple of other teaching assistants also living in Graz, which was admittedly quite funny to see their excited reactions to the picturesque scenes out the window as we wound round the mountains.

After an intense week it was somewhat a relief to be back! Yet we knew that there were only a couple of days left before we started teaching for real! A daunting, yet mostly exciting prospect…More news about that to come soon!

Katie Louise