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.

Interested in chronicling your own Austrian Adventure? Journey to our predeparture page for all the details needed.

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.

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…

A Stroll Through the Kartause Weihnachtsmarkt

The smoky scent of a wood fire drifts up and through the open-air walkways of the Kartause, mingling with puffs of mint, eucalyptus, and clove billowing up from a vendor’s essential oil diffuser. Both warm smells are sliced by the cold.


To the Top

As I look up at the mountain, my legs heavy, my face cold, I realize my hike is also a time of waiting. How much longer? Where is the summit? When can I sit down, out of the cold, and change my socks? As much as I want a sign around each corner or ridge telling me where to turn, I have to walk on, confident the summit is ahead.


Niemaszyk: Footsteps – Verso l’alto

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati: a modern witness to the hope that springs from the Gospel. A young Italian whose faith and way of life were harmoniously fused. A man who prayed through the night and climbed a mountain in the morning to hear the voice of God clearer. A man whose life was full of constant joy and self-giving.


Jernberg: Traunsee Lake

We ran into this unexpected lake and stunning location on our way from Hallstatt to Linz! A few of us were even brave enough to jump into the freezing cold water.


Jernberg: Hallstatt

After an amazing weekend of driving through central Europe, we had to head home from Lake Bled to Linz. In Linz we would drop off our rental car and then take a train back to Gaming. On our way back we were able to stop for lunch in Hallstatt and were lucky enough to soak in the beauty of this amazing town while munching on kabobs, good bread, and brie!


Jernberg & Niemaszyk: Beauty

My friends and I took advantage of our first free weekend. We spontaneously planned a trip in two days and ended up spending time in 4 countries: Austria, Germany, Italy, and Slovenia. It sounds like a lot, and hectic, and not worth it, but it was totally doable and a great asset to our Europe experiences.


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.


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!


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.


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?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


Schmiesing: 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.


Cohagan: 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 I’m not just developing an idealistic view of the world while I’m here. But this isn’t the reality of what Franciscan is, and what this University does for its students.