Every Wednesday, I walk into my “Cultural Heritage of Austria” course and ask, “So… Where are we going today?”
Like most other courses, the first hour and a half is held in the main IES building. However, unlike other classes, the second half of every class is designated to physically seeing what we’ve been studying in our textbook.
So far, we’ve seen 4 museums, 3 grave-sites of important historical figures, 1 castle, too many churches to count, the library that inspired Disney’s Beauty and the Beast’s library, and many other important landmarks in Vienna.
You could say we’ve seen a lot of the city… you would be wrong. We haven’t even seen half of it yet!
From these class outings, I’m learning not only more and more about the history of this city, but that, alongside the old buildings and artifacts, there is always something new to see. One can never complain about being bored.
World renowned Christmas markets are popping up everywhere, there is always a new symphony or opera to see for as little as 3 Euro (sometimes even for free!), and getting lost in the city (not that I’ve done that 4-5 times already…) leads you to little cafes and boutiques that, while you may never find them again, add to the charm of the city.
And the professors here sure do take advantage of these opportunities.
While not all courses can afford an excursion every class, most have at least a few scheduled into their syllabus. This sense of a classroom outside of the classroom is an eye-opening, hands-on way to learn that will make returning to lecture halls and textbook discussions difficult.
Having already met a few, I hope to encounter more professors in IU’s Journalism program who use this method of learning – allowing us to step outside of the classroom and into the lesson’s physical material.