Third Culture Kid Dating; adults who have spent their developmental years outside their parent's culture

What I remember from the American International School in Vienna, Austria…

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I thought I would tell you the things I remember from my time in middle school at the American International School in Vienna.  And who knows, maybe some of you will recall similar things.  I know there are plenty of AIS alumni out there so it might be fun to see what our memories are from that school in particular.

I attended AIS during middle school and two years of high school (9th and 10th grade).  There are certain images that I can still easily recall.  I remember the beautiful football (soccer for Americans out there) field we had. It was made of real grass, not that synthetic grass you find nowadays.  I remember playing teams from all over Europe on that field. We would play against the International School of Dusseldorf or the St John’s International School from Belgium.  I remember that AIS was so good at organising games and tournaments. I remember hosting a girl or two from the team that would come over. They would stay at our house in Vienna.  We would share dinner with them and breakfast in the morning. When it was a longer tournament, we would get to know them better as we would have them for the full weekend.  I absolutely loved team sports, and I still do. And I really loved moments like this.  I couldn’t wait to get onto that pitch to play with my team. 

And when we didn’t host the team, we would go over for a weekend. We would go to Dusseldorf and do the same thing. We would stay over (usually 2 or 3 girls) at one of the girl’s house from the home team. It was wonderful because again it gave you an insight into what it was like in that city.  Dinner always consisted of chatting about where we were from, what city we lived in, and finding out about the city we were staying in.

There was really something magical about those weekends. The mix of sports, friends, food, and a new city to discover. As a teenager, there was nothing more I could have asked for. 

There was something else I remember about AIS.  I remember the hallways. I remember them because in the American International School of Johannesburg, where we had recently arrived from, they had hallways outside because the majority of the school was outdoors (well, besides the classrooms of course!).  The climate was so good that you would walk around outdoors from class to class. And eat outside on the tables that were set on a hill (but that’s for another post!). And maybe that’s why those hallways in Vienna seem to be fixated in my mind.  I can still see the lockers.  There were people from every nationality in those hallways. You would mostly hear English, but sometimes you would hear German or French or Korean.

I also remember the International Food Festival at AIS.  Basically, the parents of the students would cook food from their ‘native’ country, and they would bring it to school on one special evening.  On that day, we would have amazing food from different countries.  It was so hard to choose. Everything smelled amazing. And because it was all home-cooked food, it had that wonderfully authentic feel to it.  I remember my mom (whose Belgian) would always make crepes (married to a French man; she had to learn how to make crepes!).  They always sold ridiculously quickly.  You could choose all kinds of toppings: Nutella, sugar, butter, lemon, cinnamon and the list goes on.  After a while, she started bringing maple syrup.  Proper international school parent, you know there’s going to be an American student who will want maple syrup.  I guess crepes can be compared to pancakes, well, at least to some. We might offend the French saying that!

Something really special about International Schools.  I can’t wait to hear what you remember from your experience at International Schools.  What are your fondest memories?  Oh and if you’re trying to figure out what that scrumptious looking chocolate cake is in that picture, it’s Sachertorte from Cafe Landtmann in Vienna.  I would kill for one of those right now!  That’s a whole other post! Everything I loved about Vienna…Wiener schnitzel anyone?


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