Tuesday, November 6, 2012



Weinerschnitzel, “The Sound of Music” and yodeling the day away — these images often pop into foreigners’ minds when thinking of Austria.
But as a group of Austrian exchange students sought to prove during a recent presentation at Keene State College, there’s a lot more to the country than those general stereotypes.

And while they’re at it, Austrians only wear the traditional lederhosen or dirndl for special events, like some of the female students in the group demonstrated during their visit to Keene State.
For most of the 20 teenage students, the trip to the Granite State was their first time in the United States. But their hometown of Salzburg draws enough international visitors that they know the views others around the world have of them.
The group’s leader, Fritz Baier, and Keene State German instructor Alison Pantesco paired up to start the exchange program with students from Akademiches Gymnasium Salzburg 15 years ago, when Pantesco was a teacher at Conval Regional High School.
The Austrian students live with families, attend some classes at Conval and visit different areas of the state. This year, they visited the Seacoast and were in Keene for the Pumpkin Festival.
The students come to the U.S. looking to practice their English and learn about the culture. And it’s the little things that have stood out since they arrived: Everything is bigger and cheaper here, all the food is heavily flavored, shops are open on Sundays.
There’s also an educational focus to the trip to give students the chance to compare the school systems in the two countries, and that’s why they visit Conval, Keene State and Harvard University.
“For most of them, it’s going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Baier said.
Even if the Austrian students return to America in the future, it will likely be as tourists who don’t get this inside perspective of the average Granite Stater’s everyday life, he said.
While at Keene State, the Austrian students participated in two of Pantesco’s German language classes, telling the American college students about their home country and splitting up into pairs to help the Americans practice their German.
“It’s a wonderful experience to be part of this kind of exchange,” Pantesco said. “To have your foreign language students actually speaking with people for whom this is their first language is really thrilling, I think. That’s what it’s all about.”
Ten early childhood teachers from China visited the region last month and participated in a panel discussion focusing on early childhood literacy with teachers from Wheelock School, Wells Memorial School and the Child Development Center at Keene State.
The Chinese visitors, representing six different kindergarten classes, participated in professional development workshops at Keene State.
This trip, along with a delegation of Keene State representatives who traveled to China earlier this year, is the result of a collaboration started in 2011 between the college and several Chinese schools.
Auditions for the Children’s Stage Adventures production of “The Fisherman and His Wife” are scheduled for Monday at 3 p.m. at Marlborough Elementary School.
About 50 kids in kindergarten through 8th-grade will be cast in the show. Students who receive roles need to be registered for the Marl-Harris Before and After School Program this week to participate in daily afternoon rehearsals.
No advanced preparation is necessary to audition for a role and participation is open to all students in Marlborough, including homeschooled students or students who attend private school. Performances are scheduled for Friday at 1:15 and 6 p.m.
Children’s Stage Adventures is a nonprofit organization based in Sullivan that travels around the Northeast putting on plays.
Franklin Pierce University’s dining services team took home top honors in the Localvore Cooking Challenge, in which colleges and universities compete to create the best meal out of locally produced ingredients.
Franklin Pierce Executive Chef Charles Salmond created a combination bacon cheeseburger, macaroni and cheese, and grilled cheese sandwich. The Rindge university competed against 12 other New England institutions, including Keene State. Teams were judged on marketing, culinary innovation and guest interaction at the competition hosted at Plymouth State University.
Monadnock Regional High School is hosting a career and college night for parents of students in grade 11 on Thursday. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. in the high school library.
A nationwide Geography Awareness Week takes places the third week of November each year with the aim of promoting an understanding of the world’s geography and how today’s global world is interconnected.
To start the week, the New Hampshire Geographic Alliance partnered with the Keene Public Library to host a kickoff party on Saturday. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Keene library and includes free training sessions focusing on teaching geography.
There also will be a giant map of Africa in Heberton Hall beginning Saturday and continuing throughout the week. The map, which is the size of a basketball court, illustrates oceans, rivers, mountains, countries and capitals, and includes games and activities.
For more information or to sign up for the training session, visit www.nhga.net.


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