e-pal: Austria

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 January, 2008, 12:00am

Connecting with teens around the world

Name Christoph Meysel

Age 17

City Vienna

Vienna has a population of about 1.8 million. Situated on the River Danube, the city is famous for its many cultural attractions, especially the ancient city centre, parts of which are a Unesco world heritage site.

Vienna was home to many famous artists: Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn and many others lived and worked here. The city is famous for arts, especially classical music.

I live in a quiet suburb in the southwest of Vienna. Vienna has a couple of skyscrapers, but generally buildings are not higher than eight floors. People in the suburbs often live in one-family houses with gardens.

My school is called a 'general-education secondary school', so we learn a lot of subjects. In my class, we learn a lot of languages - English, Spanish, Latin and, of course, German.

In some classes, natural sciences are more important. As well as languages, students learn maths, physics, biology, history, geography, music, arts, religion and sport.

In Austrian schools, students are taught to think independently and participate in class. We often have to give presentations to the class. A typical lesson starts with a review of the last topics covered.

When I hang out with friends we like to do sports. Football is particularly popular in Austria. We also often go to the cinema or just hang out and chat.

I love sports. I go to a pitch nearly every day to play football. I have been playing since I was eight. When I was 11, I started playing ice hockey. Ice hockey and football are my favourite sports because they require a mixture of endurance and technique, and are team sports. I also like mountain biking, inline skating and sailing.

What I like about Austria is the quality of life, the climate, the scenery and its cultural and economic achievements. I'm proud to be part of the European Union as it opens up lots of opportunities for our generation.

I play the piano and really like it. In contrast to most of my friends, I have a good relation to classical music. But I don't spend much time listening to music. I tend to like individual songs rather than whole genres.

Christmas and New Year are perhaps the most important festivals in Austria. On New Year's Eve, everybody shoots rockets from their gardens or balconies. All the radio stations broadcast the Blue Danube Waltz and everyone dances.

The next day, the Viennese Philharmonic Orchestra performs the world-famous New Year Concert from the Golden Hall of the Musikverein, which is broadcasted to all corners of the globe.

I first visited Hong Kong in 2006. I was very impressed by the vibrancy and dynamics of the city.

I especially liked the mix of Chinese culture with international flair.

I'm now an AFS exchange student here and live with a host family in Tin Hau.