Featured image of article: ConVal-Salzburg Exchange: Attending Classes, Visiting Hellbrunn

ConVal-Salzburg Exchange: Attending Classes, Visiting Hellbrunn

On Wednesday, the ConVal students who are participating in the Salzburg Exchange Program this year got to attend classes at the Akademisches Gymnasium (Academic High School) where they participated in 9th, 10th, and 11th grade classes in small groups of 4 or 5.

The Akademisches Gymnasium was founded in 1617 as a preparatory school for the University of Salzburg by Markus Sittikus von Hohenems, the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg. The school’s century-old mission is to prepare students specifically for university studies with a strong commitment to Humboldt’s ideal of education — graduates are to become self-determining individuals and world citizens by developing independent reasoning powers in an environment of academic freedom.

As Frau Hodgdon reported: “Today was a very special day because we got to see what Austrian school is like. We visited a range of classes, each 45 minutes in length: ancient Greek, Latin, German, History, Mathematics, Art, French, English, Chemistry, Physics, Biology. The students found the comparison between cultures to be very interesting!”

After their day at school, our students visited Hellbrunn Palace, an early Baroque villa of palatial size, near Morzg, a southern district of the city of Salzburg. The original owner was Markus Sittikus von Hohenems, the same Prince-Archbishop who founded the Akademisches Gymnasium. Sittikus built the villa in 1613–19 and named it for the “Hellbrunn” (clear spring) that supplied it.

People familiar with the movie The Sound of Music will recognize Hellbrunn Palace for its trick fountains which Frau Hodgdon considered “pretty incredible engineering for the time!” The castle grounds also contain the movie’s famous gazebo where Liesel and Rolf sing “16 Going On 17” and where Captain von Trapp and Maria perform their romantic duet, “Something Good.”

“Before heading home to their host families, a few students went ‘kneippen,’ which is an Austrian health program that involves walking in frigid water while meditating,” Frau Hodgdon noted. The loosely structured late afternoon program had some students try Sachertorte, have dinner at an Italian restaurant, while a third group visited Mozart’s birthplace in the center of Salzburg.