We came by plane, by train, by overnight bus – 16 Aussie law students with very limited knowledge of the German language – ready to conquer the city of Graz, Austria, with the Google translator app in hand. Before our first day of class, our lovely on-site coordinator Julia took us for an unofficial welcome dinner at Gösser Bräu Graz. Most of the ladies tried a ‘Radler’ (a beer-lemonade mix), which appeared to be the safest way for a non-beer drinker to tick ‘drinking beer in Austria’ off their to-do lists. It was surprisingly delicious, as were the pork schnitzels and goulash soups that filled our tables.On Monday night, we headed to Zur Steirerstub’n for an official welcome dinner with some of the teachers and co-ordinators involved with our program. Once again, we devoured delicious Austrian food, which has already become a recurring theme of our time in Graz.
As the title of our program suggests, we have been learning about ‘International Litigation, Arbitration and Mediation.’ Each class has been informative and challenging, as we learn the basics of the European Union and gain an international perspective on law and legal processes at work in Austria and surrounding EU countries. Each of our teachers have specialised knowledge in the areas that they are teaching us and it is impossible to pick favourites (because they all come bearing chocolate).
The historical city centre of Graz is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was also declared a Human Rights City in 2001. It was therefore fitting that we went on a Human Rights tour on Friday afternoon, which walked us through the city centre, including the ‘Human Rights Square’ in the Stadtpark and the Castle of Graz. This was an interesting opportunity for us to learn about both the historic and present human rights issues faced in Graz, Austria and across its various borders, such as the city’s religious foundations, Jewish history and migration.With a clear schedule over the weekend, most of us packed our bags and booked weekend trips into Austria’s neighbouring countries. Myself, Chiara, Vanessa, Regina and Tracy caught the bus to Zagreb, Croatia. We spent Saturday at the Plitvice Lakes National Park, another UNESCO World Heritage site. With aqua blue pristine waters, waterfalls and wooden paths, this is a place made of fairy tales. Seriously, Google it.
On Sunday, it was the World Cup grand final between Croatia and France. We wore Croatian soccer tops and spent the day sightseeing around Zagreb and joining in the soccer festivities. We went to the Zagreb Cathedral, the Dolac Market and, my personal favourite, the Museum of Broken Relationships, which features mementos and personal notes of lost love from all around the world. Croatia may have lost the game, but the atmosphere was unforgettable.
I can’t wait to see what week 2 has in store for us!
Hi I’m Madi! I’m a 21 year old law and accounting student from Adelaide, SA. I work part-time as a receptionist for a fitness centre. Roast potatoes, Netflix and coffee are amongst my favourite things, but above all, I love to travel. Since 2016, I have been on a road trip to Alice Springs, Uluru, the Blue Mountains and Sydney. I have been to Bali, Fiji, London, Krakow, the Amalfi Coast and Dubrovnik. They say once the travel bug bites, the itch never goes away!