It’s a familiar situation: We gaze at a poem and wonder – what was the author trying to express? What was his or her intention in using that specific metaphor? And how should we, as readers, interpret it? Over the next two years, Carina Rasse, holder of the DOC-scholarship awarded by the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and currently working at the Department of English, will explore how metaphors emerge and how they are deciphered by readers.
In her final post in the O’Canada blog series, Tamara Urach, student on the teacher training programme, reflects on this year’s student excursion to Canada and decides whether it’s an opportunity worth taking.
Looking back – going back?
It has been a few weeks since we arrived back home from our trip to Canada, and the question now is – what remains? What remains are many memories – good ones, funny ones, awkward ones and also slightly unpleasant ones, but this is what makes an awesome journey.
We experienced many hilarious things, such as a woman dancing with her shoes to Paramore’s “Still into You” (in case you’re wondering, no, she wasn’t sober) as well as people trying to sell us their EP’s on the street. We were also the ones who acted weird at times, for example, when we visited the botanical garden in Montréal and sprung a question on a local lady about whether she knew the whereabouts of Mother Earth (a famous live sculpture at the gardens). We must have appeared to be religious missionaries. Some of us also went crazy about the French word “arrêt” on stop signs (I blame Guido).
Our memories are mainly funny and good ones. Some of us lost our sympathy for dinosaurs after our museum guide in Toronto tried to explain Canada’s nation building with dinosaurs. Far cuter animals were raccoons – some of us immediately fell in love with Dash (yes, he introduced himself to us), a sweet raccoon who begged us to give him some sweets on Mont Royal in Montréal. Most importantly, we discovered that Canadians are really friendly people (except from the one or other bus lady). Some of us got lost in the underground cities and on the Metro multiple times, but we were always helped by friendly locals.
Is it worth going on this excursion with the university?
The answer is short and simple – YES, definitely! The tour was worth the money and the experience was extraordinary. If you have the chance as a student to go on this excursion, go for it! We did not have to worry about anything as we were picked up from and dropped off at the airports and train stations, the hotels were booked, the staff were always very helpful, and we had a great programme that was well suited to the topic of the course “The Founding of Canada – Canada’s Development from Settlement to Nation.”
We learnt a great deal about the various aspects of Canada’s history, especially the First Nations and the Colonial era. Furthermore, because our programme mainly took place before midday, we were able to visit places that were interesting to us during the afternoons. Even our evenings were full of fun activities, such as going to the cinema, enjoying a good meal with friends and colleagues, or simply relaxing by the pool in our hotel.
One of the best parts of this excursion was that we were able to get to know many new people. Before the trip, some of us did not know each other at all, so it was a nice opportunity to meet new people and form new friendships. We got along very well with each other and our teachers René, who put so much effort into planning the excursion, thank you so much, and Natilly, who was willing to go on an adventure with this bunch of students and even sang karaoke with some of us.
So to end this series, here’s to a trip that none of us will ever forget, and hopefully, to another trip to Canada in the future, which we will consider taking part in again.
Text and photo by Tamara Urach
In her third post on this year’s excursion to Canada, Tamara Urach journals the group’s time in Montréal, the final stop on the students’ tour.
Montréal – Excusez-moi, parlez-vous Anglais?
Our third and last stop is probably the most French-infused location of North America – Montréal. We start our program on the day following our arrival on June 2, with our first point on the agenda being a two-hour historical group tour of Vieux-Montréal, where we also witness French-Canadians taking the French way of (love) life very seriously.
Other stops on our city tour lead us to the Stewart Museum and the Pointe-à-Callière Archaeological Museum, as well as the wonderful Château Ramezay, where the tour guides show us not only the artefacts in the museum, but also an awesome garden with plants used for different medicinal purposes. Another garden that some of us decide to visit is the Botanical Garden of Montréal, where the Chinese Garden and Native Garden amaze visitors everyday. Our question about where Mother Earth is (a beautiful living sculpture at the gardens, which is in fact, nowhere to be found), only earns amazed and confused faces.
Nature is also present on the Mont Royal, name giver of Montréal, which is more of a hill rather than a mountain (we might not want to tell the Québécoise). Nevertheless, the Mont Royal is a nice place for a relaxed afternoon, even some squirrels and a racoon begging for food cross our way both up and down the hill. Another highlight on the penultimate day is our group dinner at the Vieux-Port Steakhouse, where we apparently forget about money saving and decide to enjoy an extraordinary meal – French onion soup, steak, salmon fillet and delicious desserts such as crème brûlée and chocolate mousse cake are just some of the meals worth mentioning. After some drinks at a bar, we are all ready to go to sleep and rest before some individual activities on our last day, June 7. Some of us visit the Notre Dame Basilica in Montréal, others decide to make one last shopping trip at the Eaton Centre, before we gather for our trip to the airport at 3 p.m.
After a long flight back to Venice, we safely arrive at the airport and take our bus back to Austria. It’s always nice to come home to your loved ones. Canada and our trip there will for sure stay in our hearts, and suitcases full of souvenirs and minds full of fun memories will always remind us of this extraordinary trip.
Text and photos by Tamara Urach
The communication practised by politicians is highly calculated, supporting their aim to transport their own messages and to sway the voters. Applying a linguistic perspective, Marta Degani has studied speeches by US-American politicians, including election addresses by Barack Obama, but also by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Andrew Urban is an Associate Professor at Rutgers University New Brunswick in New Jersey. In his work as a historian at the Department of American Studies he places a particular focus on the history of laborers and migrants. As Fulbright Fellow, he is spending the summer semester of 2019 at the Department of English and American Studies in Klagenfurt.