“O Canada” – Part 4

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

“O Canada” – Part 3

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


“O Canada” – Part 2

In the second post of a four-part series, student Tamara Urach journals about a recent student excursion to Canada. This week, it’s all about the group’s experiences in Ottawa.

Ottawa – Could you show me the way to the capital?

After spending five nights in Toronto, our trip continued to Ottawa, the capital of Canada. Compared to Toronto, the city is rather small and does not immediately remind us of a typical capital city, but it is charming either way. Our program starts with the Canadian Museum of History on May 31st and continues with the Parliament, the Canadian War Museum and the National Gallery on the following days. One tour that is particuarly exciting is the Canadian War Museum, not only because our tour guide is so knowledgeable, but also because he presents the artefacts and information in a way that could make students whose least favourite topic is history, love history!

Ottawa is also a great place to explore today’s Canada on your own, although it is rather small. One place we visit several times is the Byward Market, where you not only find good food and a variety of different cuisines, but also souvenirs, and the possibility to go out in the evening. Others take the opportunity to marvel at the Rideau Canal and the characteristic “stairs” where the canal is lowered to the same level as the one of the Ottawa River. Although Ottawa is not what most of us had in our minds before arriving in Canada’s capital, it was a lovely city.

Text and photos by Tamara Urach

“O Canada” – Part 1

This semester, 18 students from the University of Klagenfurt took part in René Schallegger’s seminar “The Founding of Canada: Development from Settlement to Nation.” As part of the seminar, the students went on an exciting two-week excursion to Canada to learn more about the country’s history. During this time, they stayed in three different cities, beginning their journey in Toronto, before journeying on to Ottawa and then finishing their stay in Montreal. In the first of a four-part series, Tamara Urach, a student on the teacher’s programme, shares the group’s experiences, starting in Toronto.

Toronto “Forever Yonge”

Venice, Saturday 25th May, 2:35 pm local time. Twenty students and staff members from the University of Klagenfurt are sitting on an airplane ready to take off on a great adventure – a fortnight in Canada. Some of us have already been there, but most of us haven’t and are extremely excited. It takes us roughly nine hours to arrive at Toronto Airport, where it’s 6 pm local time, and we are ready to continue our adventure the next day after some sleep.

Our five-day program in Toronto mainly takes place before midday, and consists of the Royal Ontario Museum, the Fort York Historical Site, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Black Creek Pioneer Village. Two highlights are the tour at the Fort York Historical Site, where we get an insight into the lives of British and Canadian Soldiers fighting the war of 1812, and the tour at the Black Creek Pioneer Village, where the staff (including real life young Robert Baratheon) show us how newspapers were printed, how lanterns and wool were made and how people lived back then. Although these tours are extremely interesting (apart from the one or other dinosaur that refused to tell us about the history of the first nations), some of us also take the chance to get to know today’s Canada and visit some sights in the afternoon after lunch. Shopping tours at the Eaton Centre, visiting the Niagara Falls, the CN tower, Chinatown, the Distillery District, walking along the shores of Lake Ontario, taking a cruise on this very lake and visiting the Toronto Islands are just a few of the locations some of us decide to visit. Toronto is indeed a great mixture of green parks and big city life, so everyone is able to do whatever is most interesting to them.


Text by Tamara Urach / Photos by Tamara Urach and Natilly Macartney

All You Need to Know About Coaching – Theory, Research and Practice

Eva-Maria Graf from the English Department will be hosting an event dedicated entirely to coaching and (linguistic) coaching research at the University of Klagenfurt on June 24, 2019

 Coaching Programm

Eva-Maria Graf is a coach, trainer and a professor of applied linguistics. Her research has contributed substantially to establishing German-speaking (linguistic) coaching research (see also: https://www.aau.at/blog/coaching-bedeutet-ein-gespraech-zu-fuehren/). At the event, she will be presenting her recently published book The Pragmatics of Executive Coaching (2019, John Benjamins). It is the first linguistic monograph dedicated to (executive) coaching. Also, she will be giving a first-hand insight into the origins and the developments within the (German-speaking) coaching research field focussing especially on (qualitative) process research.


Coaching is a helping professional format which has been gaining influence as an instrument of personal and organisational development not only in business contexts, but also in academic contexts at universities. The research-based and practice-oriented event aims to familiarise researchers, scholars, university employees and students with coaching as a helping format; as a tool that they may themselves utilise for professional or personal development as well as for career, leadership or life choices.


Coaching as an object of research is a new, developing (interdisciplinary) field. Researchers from disciplines such as linguistics, psychology, pedagogy, but also economic sciences contribute to it in terms of outcome and process research. Coaching research unites quantitative, qualitative and mixed-methods approaches and is characterised by its close ties to practice and practitioners. This is the reason why most of the scholars presenting at the event are also active as coaches and trainers.


The goal of “All You Need to Know about Coaching – Theory, Research and Practice” is making participants acquainted with coaching as a booming helping professional format from a variety of academic viewpoints. While presenting its current state of the art, it also aims to build a bridge between research and practice, encouraging an exchange between the two. The day-long event includes talks by national and international experts on a variety of topics and a workshop (see programme). Registrations at coaching [at] aau [dot] at are necessary to take part in the workshop (though it is almost fully booked by now). The event is free of charge and talks may be attended individually and without registration.


When: June 24, from 9am to 5pm
Where: Stiftungssaal O.0.01

More information: see programme or: https://www.facebook.com/events/413293986091901/ 



Literary Translation in Ljubljana

The class of Topics in Literary Translation spent two days in Ljubljana on May 24 and 25, translating Slovenian poetry from English into German. Students from the English Department of our partner university (Univerza v Ljubljani) had translated contemporary Slovenian literature into English under the tutelage of Monika Kavalir, PhD. Upon arrival, we were welcomed by our peers and introduced to the poems, their background, and to sites in the city that carried significance for the works: statues of the authors, former places of work or of residence, toponyms, or simply locations referred to in the texts.

After a busy afternoon and evening devoted to questions of metaphors, meter and rhyme, to carefully weighed decisions on transparency and fidelity … and finally to orthography and punctuation, the trip concluded with a literary tour on the morning of the 25th that saw the original poems and the translations performed publically in the charming centre of Ljubljana.

Eventually, the English and German versions are to find their way into a brochure the Tourism Board of the City of Ljubljana is planning to publish in September 2019.

For more pictures from the excursion see: http://www.ff.uni-lj.si/100letFF/zapisi/literarne-poti-ljubljane-v-angle%C5%A1%C4%8Dini-nem%C5%A1%C4%8Dini

Text and photo by Gregor Chudoba (gregor [dot] chudoba [at] aau [dot] at)

Guest lecture by Helen Spencer “Researching (im)politeness in intercultural interaction”

A very large body of work in (im)politeness research has focused on examining the use of politeness strategies in two or more languages/cultural groups, comparing their preferred choices for conveying certain meanings/functions, such as apologies or compliments. There are literally thousands of published studies, including dozens of monographs and edited volumes, that explore politeness from this cross-cultural perspective. Yet this approach can only partially inform us about politeness in intercultural interaction; in other words, in interactions where the participants have different (socio)cultural/linguistic backgrounds. There has been much less research of this type.

A weakness of both research angles is that there has been little or no theorising regarding the concept of culture nor the role it may play in (im)politeness judgements and evaluations. For example, Bond, Žegarac and Spencer-Oatey (2000) comment that ‘culture’ is all too often identified as the source of any differences observed, but that it is empty as an explanatory tool because it is not unpacked in any way.

In this talk, I address these issues from a research methodology perspective. I consider the types of data that need to be collected for intercultural interaction research into (im)politeness, focusing particularly on an (im)politeness evaluation perspective. I explain the concepts that are needed from an analytical point of view and demonstrate the value of drawing on work in neighbouring disciplines such as psychology. Throughout my talk I illustrate my arguments by drawing on authentic intercultural research data.


About the presenter: Helen Spencer-Oatey 

Helen Spencer-Oatey is Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Warwick, UK. Her primary research interests are in politeness theory, intercultural interaction/relations, intercultural adaptation, and cross-cultural psychology. She has an educational background in both linguistics and psychology and often works at the interface of these two fields. She has published extensively in the intercultural area, including a number of popular books (e.g. Culturally Speaking, Continuum, 2000/2008; Intercultural Interaction, with Peter Franklin, Palgrave, 2009) and is currently working on a book on Intercultural Politeness (CUP, with Kádár).  Helen is particularly committed to the applied relevance of her research, and has developed extensive resources for practitioners, many of which are freely available via the University of Warwick’s GlobalPeople website, which has tens of thousands of downloads per month.


Date and place:

May 8, 2019

16:00 Uhr


Students participate in debate workshop with British Ambassador

On Friday 22nd February, three students from the Alpen-Adria University (AAU), Magdalena Mitterberger (BA Applied Economics), Linda Valentin-Mullen (BA English and American Studies) and Neira Delalic (MA English and American Studies) participated in an English-language debate workshop hosted at the British Ambassador’s Residence in Vienna.

The workshop was organised by the British Embassy to give students studying in Austria an opportunity to broaden their understanding of debating and practise their public speaking skills in a friendly and professional environment. The workshop was convened by an experienced debater from the Oxford Union, who was previously a semi-finalist in the World University Debating Championships. Throughout the session, students learnt the foundations of debating excellence, including debate structure, how to deliver a convincing and confident speech and the importance of being a good listener.

During the afternoon, students worked in small groups and critically discussed a variety of contemporary topics such as zoos, academic streaming and the environment. For the final round of debates, students were divided into proposition and opposition groups and were given the motion “this house believes that individuals who are serious about fighting climate change should give up eating meat.” Students debated in front of a panel of judges, including The British Ambassador, Leigh Turner, EU Lobbyist and Head of the Austrian London School of Economics Alumni Society, Richard Lax, and Senior Lecturer at the AAU, Natilly Macartney. Students received constructive feedback from the panel and were each awarded a certificate of participation. Later in the evening, the workshop attendees had the opportunity to talk personally with the Ambassador and other members of staff working for the Embassy and enjoyed a range of drinks and sandwiches.

Engaging students in debates is important, because it gives students the opportunity to develop a range of valuable skills that they will need throughout their studies and in their future careers. Most notably, debating requires students to analyse and consider issues from multiple perspectives, this skill is becoming increasingly more important in a world where opinions can be shared instantly on social media and fake news spreads quickly. All the students who participated in the workshop said that their confidence increased throughout the day, and they now feel more positive about speaking in front of an audience.

Thank you to the British Embassy for organising this exciting event and for offering students in Austria an opportunity to better understand and engage in debating. 

Text and photo by Natilly Macartney

Coaching Meets (Applied Linguistic) Research at the Department of English

Forthcoming Publication & Upcoming Event: Eva-Maria Graf’s „The Pragmatics of Executive Coaching” will be published in April 2019 as part of John Benjamin’s Pragmatics and Beyond New Series (303). The monograph and coaching as a new and innovative research field in applied linguistics will be the focus of an event in June 2019. Read more

Studying coincidence in literature and films

A position as post-doctoral researcher at the Department of English and American Studies brought Matthias Klestil to Klagenfurt from Bayreuth. His research currently focuses on material from literature and films, which addresses versionality and coincidence. In our interview with Matthias Klestil, he tells us about the paths that led him to Klagenfurt, and he reveals what he finds fascinating about the USA.

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