Thursday, May 8, 2008

"I don't know much about Cinco de Mayo..."

"... I'm never sure what it's all about now." - Cake

Seems that song titles make good blog headings! On May 5, Rob and I celebrated Cinco de Mayo with chicken fajitas and homemade margaritas. Mmmm!

Today was the last time I'll meet with the Matura (Senior) classes in Liezen. We celebrated in all classes, and I felt SOOOO naughty because we all got to have a thimbleful of champagne AT SCHOOL at 8:30 in the morning! Here's a picture of the 5A class:

And here's me with the 5B class. They were so sweet... they made a card for me and gave me flowers and a little stuffed elephant so we'll "never forget" each other. I wish them all success on their Matura exams!

You can't really compare the Austrian Matura with the last semester of a U.S. high school. Depending on the school, students in Austria have to take 3-4 written exams and 3-4 oral exams. In Stainach, the students also have to have a special field and write a thesis. To some extent students can choose the subjects they are tested in. But unlike the U.S., Matura exams are cumulative/comprehensive. Written exams are taken over a one week period in mid-May. Oral exams take place in June. If students fail a subject, they have to repeat the course and take the exam again the next year. There's no summer school, and no GED. And there are no college entrance exams like SAT or ACT. Needless to say, there's a little bit of stress involved. And I maintain that, the Matura students may be the same age as high school seniors, but they are more intellectually advanced.

Today I met with the girls in Liezen, and surprised Ash with a personalized signed copy of Patch Adams' biography, Gesundheit. Patch (Hunter) Adams is my step-mom's cousin, and when I found out Patch is Ash's hero and role model, I knew I had to get her an autographed book. She was overwhelmed with gratitude!

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