Interview with Colleen Kelly

Interviewer

Would you mind giving us a short introduction of yourself and what made you come here to Austria as an English assistant?

Colleen

Ur... Thatís difficult, you know? Well, my name is Colleen Kelly, Iím originally from White Bear Lake (Minnesota) but I went to college in Indiana where I studied Mathematics and Music. Iím spending this year here in Austria because two years ago I was in Innsbruck as an exchange student for one year and I really enjoyed being in Austria.

Interviewer

You are a musician? What instrument do you play?

Colleen

I play the piano and cello.

Interviewer

What did you do during the Christmas holidays?

Colleen

I spent those two weeks with my family. Went skiing... and just relaxed.

Interviewer

Do you like being in Austria or do you prefer the USA?

Colleen

Thatís a very difficult question. Itís really interesting to see something completely different from time to time. I really love Austria. Everything is far more relaxed here and the people are friendlier...

Interviewer

*looks in a strange way*

Colleen

You disagree?

Interviewer

Er... yes. Well, for me it seems that the people in the States are way more friendlier. There is not that much stress and hurry.

Colleen

Interesting *smiles*. It seems that these are just the impressions foreigners have of a country.

Interviewer

How did you enjoy the prom last Saturday?

Colleen

It was very interesting to see people you know from school in a completely different setting... you know... more relaxed... wearing dressy clothes... and drunk...

Interviewer

Were you drunk this Saturday?

Colleen

Well... not THIS weekend *smiles*.

Interviewer

What do you think about Steyr - the town? Do you like going out there?

Colleen

Itís such a beautiful town! Maybe itís a little bit small but thatís nice sometimes. Itís easier to meet people you know when you walk around the Stadtplatz... But that also can be a problem. For example when you just run to buy some toilet paper and then some students arrive who know you: "Hi Colleen! How are you?" and they want to talk to you *smiles*. But your Stadtplatz is great. I really like being there.

Interviewer

And what about going out in Steyr in the evenings?

Colleen

I like going to Kennedyís and sometimes Treff... but only on weekdays. At the weekends itís far too crowded there. I like going to cafés here. We donít have many at home.

Interviewer

Yeah, I know. What are you doing in your spare time besides hanging around in cafés?

Colleen

I travel a lot on the weekends. I also go to Enns twice a week. Right now, Iím trying to learn to play the guitar... taking a sport class at BG Werndlpark..

Interviewer

Is there a lot of work to do for school?

Colleen

No. Definitely not. This is the most laid back work for me. Itís very relaxed. I only teach 12 hours a week... thatís not that hard.

Interviewer

What do you think about the students? Is it hard for you to get in touch with them?

Colleen

You mean talking to them? Well... in each class you have 3 or 4 students who are very talkative but there are some students who are rather shy. They never say a single word and when they see me coming along they try to hide.

Interviewer

How do you like our teachers? Are they a good support for you?

Colleen

Yes, they are very supportive. Itís very interesting to see their different teaching styles. Some of them are more strict and others are very laid back in class.

Interviewer

Have you found yourself a few friends here in Steyr? Folks you like hanging around with?

Colleen

Iíve met some wonderful people here. I also spend quite a bit of time with the English assistants from the HAK and BG Werndlpark Ė the ironic thing with that is that Iím speaking far too much English and I came to Steyr partly to improve my German!

Interviewer

What do you miss most here in Austria? Is there something special?

Colleen

The people. I Definitely miss my friends and family.

Interviewer

What do you think is different between the American and the Austrian ways of life?

Colleen

The pace. Everything is far more relaxed here. In America people always seem to be in a hurry.


      

Interviewer

What aspect of Austria could make you want to stay here?

Colleen

There are a lot of things about Austria that could tempt me to stay. Steyr is beautiful, and I feel like Iím just now starting to really get used to the way of life here. Most of all itís just a refreshing change of pace to be living abroad.

Interviewer

Do you like the Austrian food?

Colleen

I love your desserts, but I donít like the staple meat and potatoes that much. I donít like your Wiener Schnitzel to be honest. But your desserts are great.

Interviewer

So is it hard for you to live here without Pizza Hut, Subway or KFC around?

Colleen

Actually, I donít like the typical fast food chains that much Ė itís all so commercialized. I refused to go to McDonaldís here in Steyr. What I found strange here is that you are selling beer there... thatís one thing that never would happen in America. Beer in a fast-food-restaurant...

Interviewer

Right... they mention this in the movie "Pulp Fiction"...

Colleen

Oh, yeah! And the part: "You know what they call a ĎQuarterpounder with Cheeseí in Paris? Ė They donít call it ĎQuarterpounder with Cheeseí? Ė No man! They got the metric system. They wouldnít know what a Quarterpounder is..."

Interviewer

Hehehe... and what about the eating habits? I know that you Americans are used to having quite a big breakfast. Then during the whole day not much and in the evening a huge dinner.

Colleen

Most Americans eat both breakfast and lunch "on the run" but itís true that dinner is the largest and most important meal of the day. Itís not very healthy but itís true



Interviewer

Now I have a silly question: What do you think was the most Austrish thing you have done here?

Colleen

Well, I bought myself these indoor shoes for school because youíre not allowed to wear outdoor shoes in school. Iím so used to it now that I wear house shoes at home in my apartment as well.

Interviewer

Have you been skiing since youíre here in Austria?

Colleen

No... not yet. But Iím going on a ski-week with the 3rd and 4th form this February and Iím looking forward to it.

Interviewer

What have you seen of Austria so far?

Colleen

Iíve been to Vienna, Graz, Salzburg, Linz... and I spent a year in Innsbruck. But I havenít been to the Salzkammergut yet. I really want to explore that area before I leave.

Interviewer

Do you have a boy somewhere waiting for you?

Colleen

Can I say "No comment"? I know thatís a cheap answer...

Interviewer

All right *smiles*. Letís turn over to something different. What type of music do you like?

Colleen

Thank you *smiles*. I really like a bit of everything: U2, the Corrs, Van Morrisson, jazz, classical,... But Iím not a big fan of rap.

Interviewer

And what films do you like?

Colleen

Iím definitely a sucker for romantic comedies... basically everything Meg Ryan has ever been in. At home weíd call those "chick flicks".

Interviewer

What about some recent movies?

Colleen

Iíve been to the cinema a few times here in Austria. I recently saw "Charlieís Angels" and that was quite good. Not an Academy award winner, but definitely entertaining.

Interviewer

You watched it in German? Have you already come that far that you can follow conversations?

Colleen

My German has improved a lot, although not as much as Iíd hoped. I can follow discussions now... but I still have problems when people are speaking in dialect. Oberösterreichisch is still hard for me.


Thank you so much, Colleeen,
for your patience and support. =)


Pictures by Lukas Mitter (8A)
Interview and processing by Ronald Sladky (8A)