Interview with Malia Campell
Written by Precious and Larissa (1IK)
Why did you come to Austria?
Well, when I graduated from college, I wanted to take a bit of a break — I worked 30 hours a week during college — and wanted to improve my Spanish, so I moved to Spain to teach English in an elementary school. Then I found the teaching assistantship program here in Austria, and decided to try out Austria. I also had an Austrian boyfriend, so that’s why I chose Austria in specific.
Do you like Austria or the U.S. better?
Well, I’m American, and the U.S. will always be my home, but I love Austria too. Especially the idea of „Gemutlichkeit“ — in the U.S. people are in such a hurry all the time. Either you have to work, or you have time off, and then you just want to get everything done as fast as possible. There’s not much time for relaxing. Here people make their own jams, sauces, juices, etc.; I find that really cool.
What are your hobbies?
I love hiking, doing yoga and going jogging. Cooking and baking, and most of all travelling.
Do you miss anything from the United States?
Chocolate chip cookies!!! The beach (I’m from California), and holidays. Holidays without your family just aren’t the same. And in the U.S. we celebrate Christmas on the 25th, for example, not on the 24th, and so celebrating on the 24th doesn’t feel like „real“ Christmas to me.
Which country has the better educational system – the U.S. or Austria?
I think it really depends on the school that you attend — what I do really like about the Austrian school system, though, is that you can choose what you want to study before college. So like at this school, you can study business — I studied business in college, and would’ve loved to study it in high school, but we don’t have a system where that’s possible. And of course foreign language is much more of a focus here, which I think is great! But what I think the U.S. system does better is things like P.E. classes and team sports, and elective classes — I had P.E. class every year of my school career, and minimum 4 times a week. We got to choose from track & field, weight lifting, dance aerobics, racquet sports, and a few other classes. Then for elective classes we could take: ceramics, drawing, painting, computer programming, metal or wood work, auto mechanics, fashion design, cooking, … And we had those classes at least twice a week.
Did your parents support you financially?
No. They believe in the good ol‘ hard American school. So I had to pay for college, worked 30 hours a week, and took out student loans. It taught me how to work hard, and to appreciate everything they gave me and my siblings growing up.
Do you plan on staying in Austria? If yes, why and how long?
Yes — last April I married an Austrian guy. So my near future is in Austria. I recently got hired by The Ritz Carlton, Vienna — I studied Hotel, Restaurant, Tourism Management — so I have a regular job and everything. But my goal is to end up in Spain — I miss the sunshine and beach!