We have arrived!
Our flight from Chicago (Austrian Air 066) landed this morning at 8:37 AM local time in Vienna (right around 1:37 AM or 2:37 AM back at home). Catherine and the bus driver who would take us to Graz were anxiously awaiting our arrival, complete with a “University Indiana” sign. 🙂
Bettina and Arne were so tickled to see the students at the Chicago airport reviewing their German adjective endings! After getting re-acquainted with each other over a few friendly games of cards (courtesy of Sarah), we got ready for the long trip over the Atlantic. Before boarding, Arne told the students that as soon as the flight began its descent toward Vienna they would speak their last English words for the next 5 weeks and 4 days (save for a couple calls home :-).) We are all really glad that the language commitment is starting off so strongly.
The bus ride from Vienna to Graz took around 2 hours, and we arrived just shortly before noon to meet our host families in front of Graz’ opera house. It was a quick transfer from the bus to the host families’ cars, but Catherine was able to snap a few photos. The host parents and siblings were all very excited to finally meet their students.
The rest of the weekend will be spent getting to know host families and how to navigate around Graz. In the next three days or so you should be receiving a quick call home from your student – please remember that, in the interest of giving your student the best opportunity to get immersed in German, these calls should only last a maximum of 5 minutes.
This week we are looking forward to (among other things) a walking tour of the city, meeting a representative from the mayor’s office (Councilman Klaus Frölich), and visiting the Eggenberg Palace just outside of Graz. More to come soon!