In 1988, I was a Fulbrighter in language specialty at the University of Vienna, at the Translation and Interpretation faculty, as well as the Wirtschaftsuni. I had Fulbrights before in other countries and had done my PhD dissertation on Austrian Literature and architecture, so it was an exciting experience for me. It was the "Waldheim era" in politics, so I had first-hand view of all the conflicting and often paradoxical attitudes that had in fact affected my family ages before. In many ways, however, things went so well that I was asked back outside the Fulbright umbrella as a guest prof. at the Dolmetsch Institut three times over the next decade. I made many friends and scholarly contacts there as well as maintaining good ties with the binational commission then directed by Dr. Fruewirth. My life in Vienna was greatly enriched by these opportunities.
I used the years to travel extensively into Eastern Europe beyond Vienna, and as the Communist regimes disappeared and those societies opened more and more, I came to know good bits of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Slovenia, and Hungary. Over the next decades in the US until my recent retirement, my career moved more fully into working in Italy with study abroad programs for the university, but the experiences teaching, traveling, and consulting often kept the orientation toward Austria. I am aware that the Vienna that I knew in the 1990's, at the start of enormous changes, is not at all the city of 2015. I don't know if I will have the opportunity to live it as I did the city of decades past, but I still dream of it and see images of it at unpredictable moments. It gave my succeeding career enormous depth and diversity of knowledge. Nothing short of a Fulbright could have ever been so formative and inspiring.
Prof. em. Mark Bernheim taught at Miami University and was awarded a US Fulbright Scholarship to Vienna, Austria, in 1988-89. Photo courtesy of Prof. em. Mark Bernheim.