From the green hills of Gaming, to the bustling cities of Rome, Barcelona, and Paris, the winding lanes of the French countryside, to the majesty of the Swiss Alps, and from the enduring castles of Germany to the glistening waters of the Mediterranean, the continent of Europe possesses some of the richest history in the world as the backbone of Western Civilization.

Join these Franciscan University students on their semester travels across Europe as they share authentic stories of their journeys, studies, and life at the Kartause Maria Thronus Iesu in Gaming, Austria.

Austria Student Bloggers
Marianna Schmiesing

Gruß Gott! My name is Marianna Schmiesing, and I am a junior English major at Franciscan. I was born and raised in Steubenville, Ohio, just a few blocks from the University, and it has always felt like home to me. This semester, I am living, working, eating, sleeping, praying, studying, and traveling all across Europe, making base camp in Gaming, Austria, at the Kartause Maria Thronus Iesu, the center of Franciscan’s study abroad program.

Martin Jernberg

I am from Lancaster, Massachusetts. Currently I study multi-media communications at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio. Life is incredibly special and full of beauty. I believe photography is amazing and so important because it allows us to capture unique moments forever.

Annie Niemaszyk
Annie Niemaszyk Austria Blogger Biography What’s up! My name is Annie Niemaszyk, and I am currently a sophomore communications major with a marketing minor. Born and raised in New England, New Hampshire is the state I call home. I make sure a few of the paths I take in life are frequently on a dirt path…

Niemaszyk & Jernberg: Avalanches

The Carthusian monastery I’m currently living and studying in has steep, slick roofs and Austria has snow built up on every surface from recent storms: the perfect equation for an “avalanche.” At any time of day, heavy snow will unexpectedly slide off the roof and crash to the ground, disturbing the silence and even waking people from their sleep in the midst of the night.

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Jernberg: Arrival in Austria

My friend Isiah Springer-Blacke and I hiked to the steel cross on Book mountain last night. We were surrounded by fog and clouds until about seven pm when the sky cleared up and the stars came out!

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Niemaszyk & Jernberg: If You Don’t Like the Weather, Wait Five Minutes

A common thing for students to do before beginning their semester in Austria is to visit a country a week before classes start. A popular destination is Ireland where students are surrounded by the Cliffs of Moher, beautiful countryside, and Irish culture. Four of my friends and I decided to break this tradition and take a riskier trip: explore the beautiful country of Iceland.

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Schmiesing: Coming Home

Most students returning from Austria will tell you similar things: “It was a great semester.” “It feels so weird being back.” “I’m still processing.” It was no different for me. As soon as I was home and waking up in my bed, the whole experience felt like a dream. Had I even left?

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Schmiesing: “Wine Tasting in Assisi”

I do not recommend wine tasting when you have a cold. However, like in matters, I did not heed my own advice, and went to a wine tasting in Assisi with a cold.
There were about 30 of us packed into a little basement, wine bottles stacked in rows on the wall, and the door propped open to let in air. On the table, meats and cheeses were spilling off of wooden platters, a basket of bread and a cup of small forks in between. Each person was given two wine glasses.

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Schmiesing: Venice Photoblog

The roads only go so far into Venice (meaning not at all), so we had to take a boat into the city. It was fascinating to drift along the wide canal with churches and buildings right on the water’s edge on either side.

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Schmiesing: Padua and Venice

I had signed up to go on the school trip to Padua and Venice, partly because I always wanted to see Venice, but also because I still don’t want the responsibility of planning my own trip.

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Schmiesing: Mother Teresa’s Canonization

We have a list of things we never think we’ll do: climb Mount Everest, invent the next best thing to sliced bread, open a tuna-canning factory in Oregon (although, that last one sounds somewhat tempting…) For me, it was sleeping on the cobblestone of St. Peter’s Square.

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Schmiesing: Hiking around Gaming

dscn4647If you ever have the chance to hike up some of the mountains around Gaming at 5 A.M., I suggest you do it. Even though it’s very dark at 5 A.M. and only gets darker the further you walk into the trees. Even though the narrow trail is criss-crossed with roots and snakes back and forth at sharp angles. Even though you thought it was just a 45 minute hike, but then you realize that you’re only half-way up the mountain 45 minutes in

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Schmiesing: Melk Abbey and Dürnstein

On Sunday, most of the Gaming campus traveled down to Melk Abbey, a Benedictine Abbey that also served as a palace for the traveling Imperial Austrian family. It’s bright yellow walls help it stand out on the cliffs overlooking the Danube River.

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Departure

Growing up in Steubenville only a few blocks from Franciscan, I never really left for college. True, I did pack up most of my belongings and cart boxes and boxes into my dorm room, but I never left “home.” Franciscan was as familiar to me as my backyard.

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The View from the Hilltop.

It’s been said to me before, usually by friends of mine or others that I meet who aren’t fully aware of what life at Franciscan is like, that this little University on top of the hill is a bubble. That it’s a collection of like-minded people and I would be almost kidding myself to be convinced that…

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The Blessings of Returning from Austria

For those of you who don’t know, I recently returned from a semester abroad in Gaming, Austria – Franciscan University’s study abroad program. I also blogged about it here if you are interested in reading more about that experience. To sum it up, it was the semester of a lifetime. I traveled to 7 different…

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The Center of Our Faith

This last week and a half, all the students studying abroad at the Kartause this semester traveled to Rome and Assisi for a pilgrimage put on by the University. Rome and Assisi – I can’t think of two better places for a Franciscan student to travel to on pilgrimage. In Rome, the heart and center of the…

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Finding Our Lord in the Beauty Around Me

During a semester in Austria every student has the opportunity to travel almost every weekend. Since classes are 4 days a week, you have 3 days to travel each weekend. On top of those weekends, there are two 10-day breaks: one break that you can travel and plan with other students and one break that…

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A Semester of Transformation

This semester I am blessed to be studying at Franciscan University’s study abroad program in the foothills of the Alps at the Kartause in Gaming, Austria. When people told me about the program it was a little bit difficult for me to picture, so the picture to the left is hopefully worth 1,000 words. The semester here…

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Returning with the Imprint of Gaming.

  The end of my semester abroad in Gaming. I can’t believe it. So much has happened this semester. I’ve done so many new things, seen so many beautiful places, made so many new friends, and encountered the Lord in a profound way in my life. I almost don’t want to leave this place, it…

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The Adventure Called Austria

  In 17 very short days, my feet will land on American soil for the first time in 4 months. I hate to be that person who’s all sappy and sentimental at the end of the semester, but I ‘m going to be. My semester in Austria has been the hardest and the best semester…

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The Divine Mercy of the Cross.

Holy Week seems to be a fitting time to reflect on one of the biggest lessons I have learned in Austria thus far. Trust. The Miriam Webster dictionary defines trust as the “belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc”. And this is of course true, but the richness of our Christian…

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Walking Through History

Around the time that I was in 7th grade, I began to develop a deep love for learning about history, especially World War II. I vigorously read every book I could find on the topic. If you were to quiz me, I could have named off dates, given summaries of battles, and even told you…

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The Heart of a Pilgrim.

  Austria changes you. If you are open to it, it changes your heart. You are stretched and increased in ways you could have never imagined for yourself. And it’s not because of seeing so many sights and enjoying so much foreign culture. It’s those things in part, but more fully it’s because of an encounter…

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In The Spirit of St. Francis

Each semester the study abroad program offers the students a chance to attend a 10-day pilgrimage to Rome, the heart of the Catholic Church, and Assisi, the home of our school’s patron St. Francis. The first half of the pilgrimage is spent in Rome. Those four days were filled with back-to-back activities that ranged from…

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