This year’s Orientation week was hot and sunny, summer being in full glory. A hike to the waterfall in the Austrian Nature Park was part of our students’ introduction to their new home. Through our weekly Common Dinners (which the students plan, prepare, and cook in teams), weekly Scripture study, Holy Hour, games of LCI UNO, and various other activities, we’ve really begun to bond as a family community.

One highlight of the semester was travelling to the capital city of Vienna, which concluded with the Fall Retreat. A few of the speakers were LCI graduates, and our theme was the importance of personal prayer. During this past week, the American students were on pilgrimage to Rome, which afforded us the flexibility of an altered class schedule: classes in the morning, and hikes (with snowball fights!) and group activities in the afternoons. One such afternoon had us all laughing as we completed a series of 10 team-building exercises, including: Blindfolded Team Races, a Toothpick Tower contest, the Egg Drop, and a Scavenger Hunt around the town of Gaming. Their good sportsmanship and competitiveness were a great bonding experience.

As we head into the close of the semester, the focus of the Class is on the theater performance of A Christmas Carol, which has become an iconic LCI tradition. The excitement is building as the props and costumes are being distributed, and the posters are being printed. This simple story of Christmas brings us back around to this wonderful season and theme of the year, which serves to give us new focus and new purpose in life. And so, as Tiny Tim observed: “God bless us, everyone!”