36 Years Ago

36 Years Ago, Vienna 1971—A Student Journal

Day 006: Achille from Italy


Vienna 1971—A Student Journal
A year of music, study, travel, sightseeing & friends.

Day 6 — A new roommate, Achille
08-August-1971 (Sun.)


Today one of my roommates came. His name is Achille R. and he is a student from Milan, Italy. He is very friendly, and we agreed to always try and speak in German, if possible. We do pretty well, and I think that my German is improving considerably. We both answer each other’s questions about the way we live and it is all very interesting. He is a student of chemistry, and is also about to receive his “Doktorate of Economy” degree.

Went to Mass at St. Stephan’s Cathedral and had Communion.

At lunch, we met these people from the Rep. of South Africa. They knew English and we had some more pleasant conversation. The wife asked me if I would like to write to her daughters and I replied, yes. It should be very interesting to find out how students think there.

At dinner–Wienerwald. Met two French families. With the help of Achille, we had very pleasant conversation.

People always seem to be interested in each other.


Roommate Achille. Yes, I have a new roommate. His name is Achille. He’s from Italy and a doctoral student. (Sorry for the funkadelic Germanic spellings—doktorate, which I obviously thought I was so cool at the time.) I was sorry to discover that I didn't have any pictures of Achille.

Rotary. The Rotary International fellowship was certainly meeting its goals. I was immersed in a wonderful cross-cultural international world of students.

Send your kids to Europe. If you are a parent and have children, if feasible, try to find a way to have your children experience some overseas or European schools. Many colleges have programs with a semester or more overseas. Alternatively, a one-month summer language course is a major international experience. These language courses are usually attached to universities in major European cities. In the summer, Europeans are out to learn additional languages or brush up on their foreign language skills, and visit new locales. That’s why they know multiple languages. They study them. Countries are close. They go to native countries to learn languages—now that's total immersion. Immersion—dumping you into a language full-blast with 100% language—is the current rage. I heard it works.

Rotary gave me a life-changing experience. Even though my language course hasn’t yet started, I am already connecting with students from many countries. This experience of meeting so many people from other countries was amazing. Again, the purpose of Rotary International's Walter D. Head Foundation was being met. If you haven't guessed, this was a life-changing experience.

Up-close culture. A bonus of a summer language course, or semester of study abroad, is the amazing capability to see a city and a country’s culture, up close and personal, over the extended period of a month. Compare that to just hours or a day or so on a typical tour bus.
(back to the journal)

Church stained-glass window
Off to church. It’s Sunday and I went to church only a few blocks away. Perhaps Achille suggested going to St. Stephan’s. I’m surprised that I didn’t post more on the wonderful St. Stephan’s Cathedral. It’s so beautiful and full of grandeur. A major cathedral in Vienna and Austria. I remember similarities to St. Stephan’s Cathedral in New York. I’m glad that I had Communion. I don’t have Communion so much anymore, maybe I should rethink that.

Once again, conversations with a husband and wife from South Africa. And I’m supposed to correspond with the daughters. Incredible.

Dinner time. The Wienerwald in Vienna is, I believe, a chain restaurant. (On returning to the U.S. I think I remember seeing them in New York as well.) The restaurant was close by—a big advantage. I remember that I liked it and ate there regularly, as it was reasonably priced. Not sure what I ate, but a good guess might be Wienerschnitzel (breaded veal patties). More pleasant conversations with two families from France. Thank goodness Achille was there.

Note: I need to remember to post some visuals on the locations of where I was staying and visiting so you can get a better orientation of the location of each place. The student hostel was right off of the main shopping street, Kärtnerstrasse, only a couple of blocks from the Vienna State Opera house and also from St. Stephan’s Cathedral. That's going by memory, not Google™ Maps.

A good day. Meeting good people. Yea!

Photo of the day:

Beautiful stained-glass window in Viennese church

Church stained-glass window