Next Event: Garden Party, hosted by the Austrian Embassy. Invitation only.
Each year the topics for the essay competition are eagerly awaited in my school. 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.
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. 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. The students learn how to ask for directions, order food, buy tickets and much more. 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. They see a purpose, other than a grade, for learning the language. They are amazed at how well they can cope in a foreign country and speak the language with increased confidence subsequently.
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. All the students receive the same title, yet each essay is unique and imaginative. It is wonderful to observe how each student becomes more creative and confident in his use of the German 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. This year I discovered that the Latvian language was founded by a German and that an Irish monk St. Virgil had a huge influence in Salzburg. In the past essays about ‘The Wild Geese’, Mozart, Dr. Otto von Habsburg, among others, proved very popular and educational.
The value and significance of the essay competition does not stop with the closing date - it has a ripple effect. This year two of my Leaving Certificate students are presenting projects on Austria for their oral German exam - one titled 'Salzburg' and the other titled 'Skiing in Austria'. Such was their love for the country that they wanted to express this in an exam which is worth 25%. One of these students - a former scholarship recipient - is hoping to follow in the footsteps of a student from last year and study Actuary with German in UCD. Another scholarship recipient is currently studying Medicine with German as his trip to Austria motivated him to continue studying the language. In this way the competition acts as a catalyst for future careers. The German language opens many doors for students and as one student, who took up a new position as a Translator in the European Union in Brussels earlier this year said ‘’Once you come to grips with German, you quickly realise what a brilliant, structured language it is’’.
So members of the Irish Austrian Society please take a bow - the contribution you are making to Irish Education is invaluable. Remember: ''The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life’’ - Plato
When we arrived in Greystones, about two hours later, the mood was high. Along the route we met other walkers who talked about wonderful skiing holidays spent in the Tyrol and could only wax lyrically about Austria and Austrians. Of course no outing would be complete without a restaurant stop, so having done our walk we headed for Summerville’s which had a gorgeous secluded garden where we enjoyed a well-earned brunch.
Not being faint-hearted, it was decided to walk back to Bray, but this time we were to climb Bray Head along the way. There was a bit of puffing and panting climbing up the hill, but we all arrived at the top in one piece. The views of Dublin right up as far as Howth and down as far as Wicklow Head were breath taking. The last leg of a wonderful outing was made all the easier with the promise of a visit to The Harbour Bar where we were all glad to sink into some easy chairs and enjoy a pint and chat. A truly lovely day with great company and sense of fun! I’m looking forward to the next outing!
Click on picture above to view more photos from the walk.
The winners of the 2015 Irish Austrian Society German Language Essay Competition were announced today at a prize winners ceremony hosted by the Austrian Ambassador Dr. Thomas Nader. In the presence of the winners together with their friends, family and teachers, the category winners and runners up were awarded their prizes.
The winners are, from left to right:
Maria Dunne. Mercy Secondary School, Galway. 2nd place Transition year. Teacher: Ruth Gilroy
Paul Crampton. Colaiste Phobal Ros Cre, Roscrea, Co Tipperary. 2nd place Seniors. Teacher: Eimear O'Meara
Oisin Thomas Morrin. St. Mary's Knockbeg College, Knockbeg, Co Carlow. 2nd place Juniors. Teacher: Louise Dillon-Reeves
Ailish Lalor. Loreto Secondary School, Kilkenny. Seniors. Winner of the Dr. Otto Glaser Trophy & 2 week scholarship to Salzburg. Teacher: Maria Murphy
Katherine Ahern. Presentation Secondary School, Tralee, Co Kerry. Transition year. Winner of the Dubsky Environment Trophy & 2 week scholarship to Salzburg. Teacher: Marion Cronin
Jessica Byrne. St. Leo's College, Carlow. Juniors. Winner of the St. Fergal Trophy. Teacher: Ann Tully
We congratulate all the winners and thank all participants, teachers and schools for their participation and support. We also thank our sponsors who's support enables us to send the winners on a 2 week scholarship to Salzburg.
Please click on the picture above for more photos from the ceremony event.
Last Sunday, Easter Sunday, we had our now annual easter egg hunt for all families and children. Like the previous year, we once again had fab weather for a day outdoors and really enjoyed a fun day, as did all the kids searching and collecting easter eggs and other treats. Click on the picture below for more photos from this event.
The 2015 essay competition is now closed for new entries as of 19 March. We wish to thank all participating schools, students and teachers for their work. The essays are currently being judged by university lecturers nominated by the Austrian Embassy. Winners will awarded their prizes at a ceremony hosted by the Austrian Ambassador, Dr. Thomas Nader, later in April. At that time, the names of the winners will also be announced here on austria.ie. Stay tuned...
The 2015 German language essay competition, organized by the Irish Austrian Society in collaboration with the Austrian Embassy in Dublin, is now well underway and remains open until 19 March. Details on the competition are available here.
I am delighted to announce that the winner of the transition year category will now also receive a scholarship for two weeks in Salzburg ! We hope this will be additional motivation for your students to participate.
On 25 February, the annual general meeting took place at St John's House in Dublin. Hon Secretary Peta Taffe read the minutes of the previous AGM from Feb 2014, which were adopted. Hon Treasurer Ulrike Schoeller presented the accounts and financial statement. President Guy then gave on overview of the past year and the events held. The current committee was re-elected with the following change: Ray LeGates has left the comittee and was replace by Reinhard Dutter. The comittee wish to express their sincere thanks to Ray for his efforts and contribution during his time as a member of the comittee.
Please find the latest and updated list of events planned for 2015 on our events page here.
The 18th essay competition is now open. All schools in Ireland are invited to participate in this annual competition. For details please read the competition information page. We wish all students and participants every success and good luck.