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Hells Canyon Journal
Halfway, Oregon
September 2, 1992     Hells Canyon Journal
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September 2, 1992

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Page 26 Hells Canyon Journal September 2, 1992 a year in The Hells Canyon Journal's David Baker interviews Pine Eagle High School senior Inti St.Clair upon her return from eleven months in Austria. ?. (Editor's note: Inti begins by some switching around to take talking about her class in school other subjects, because these which stayed in one classroom, classes have all the same sub- while the teachers rotated.) jects. In first form, which is the equivalent of the 4th grade, they Instead of going from room to start out by taking English, then room and splitting up, the sar/le they add Latin, and in the 5th class stayed together? form they add another foreign and the teachers came to language. This year they were our room. able to choose between Italian How did you like that? and French, so during the pe- It was OK. I like it the way we riod which was Italian or French doithere-switchingfromroom they separated, and joined with toroom-becauseyougetawider another 5th form (freshman- variety of people you hang out level) class. Next year they'll add with, but I didn't mind staying another foreign language. From in one room over there bemuse 5th form on they can keep add- I met everyone anyway. The age ing foreign languages, because of these kids was between 14 my school was based on foreign and 15, and they were probably languages. They have different equivalent to a freshman class kinds of schools - technical here. The reason I was put in schools, schools which go more such a low class was because I toward business management, didn't have any German to be- schools for cooking- things like gin with, and also because the hat. head teacher was really great, And is that the common system and he was willing to help me a inAustria? lot more. I was goingtobe in the All the schools in Austria are next form (grade) up, but Eliza- like that. You have a specific beth, the girl from Portland, was class and aspecificheadteacher, inthat form, and they wanted us and the headteacher coordinates separated so we wouldn't be the class trip. Each class takes a speaking English together in- tripeveryyear-itwiUbeasports stead of learning German. trip, or a tour of museums - we What would you say were the took a bicycle week. We toured advantages of a system where you upper and middle Austria. The stay in one room with the same head teacher coordinates the peep/e? trip, and everything the class They get a lot closer. These does. people have been together ever What time of year did you take since the first form. My school the tr/p? went from first form to eighth It was during the fall, in Oc- form-basically4thgradeto12th tober. Most of the time the grade. Some of the students do weather was overcast, but we HAY IN THE FIELDS, Austrian style. 'mmv**mR A BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER ELBE on a still had a great time. What we did was go to a place in Middle Austria and stay in a castle, and from there we rode our bicycles different phces every day and came back and stayed in the castle at night.ltwas alot of fun. Where did you attend school? In Wels, a town of about 50,000 in Upper Austria. My school had about 800 kids in it. And there were tons of different schoolsin Web.School there was six days a week, five to six hours a day- a total of 220 dad of school per year, com- pared with 180 dad here. mean that, at 4th levd . about ten yoars old- the kids had either done some testing or .making, or bath, to deter- wh= they wanted togo with thdr educatiom ? Before 4th'grade everyone goes to a VolksChule - basically a grade J hool - and after that you 8o into any one of these specialized schools. Or, you can stop there and go into an ap- prenticeship, so you don't have to continue in school after that. /s/t grades, or the ch//d's per- sonal decision which determines where he from You do have to get good grades to go into an upper-level school Did you speak any C, erman at all when you went to Austria? NO. How long did it you to beconte, first comfortable, then pro- lucent7 Photo courtNy of IntJ St. Cl~' class field trip to Prague, Czechoslovakia. I would say at two months I could understand just about any conversation that was going on around me, and I was starting to speak in mixed sentences. At two-and-a-half months I was So they all spoke English, my parents excellently, and my brother and sister well enough to get along. They spoke English to me for the first couple of days, so I could get settled, but they probably speaking more Ger- spoke only German with each rnanthanIwasEnglish, butthere other. That's how I started pick- was a lot that I still didn't under- stand. But a couple weeks after that I was speaking German all the time. In January I realized-- I don't know when it started, I just realized --that lwas dream- ing and thinking all the time in Gen an. ing it up. At first I didn't under- stand a word, but as time went on, they spoke more and more German. They started speaking only in German before I under- stood all of it. It was kind of a guessing game - if I understood a couple of words I could basi- Were your classmates eager to cally guess the general idea of practice their English on you? " what they were saying. If I got They were good about it. At first they did speak English to me, but they ented to help me speak German, so after I started knowing a few things in Ger- man, they would say something in German, and if I didn't under- stand it all, they would repeat it in English. Sometimes they would want to practice their really frustrated I could just say, "Can you please say R in En- glish?" Certain things I needed to know about, like how to get to the bus, and how to read the schedule. Under what program did you go to Austria? AFS - American Field Service. "How did you get involved with English, and I would help them "them? --they would speak in English, Well, I had dedded that liv- and I would answer in German. Did your family speak only Ger- man? My family spoke excellent English. My father was the head of the language department of the university in Linz, and he taught English, Russian and German there. My mother tu- tored English to grade school and high school students. My brother-- he was in my class -- had taken five years of English, and my sister had taken three. ing abroad would be a neat thing to do. I like languages. After I applied, they called me and set up an interview in Baker City, which is where the local chapter of AFS is. They wrote a recom- mendation to their headquar- ters in New York, who sent me another application which in- cluded several essays which I had to write, and my morn and dad had to write, about me. They were about my interests, what I Continued on page 27