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Students spend day in service to Vienna, Austria community

Lipscomb is a community of service, even thousands of miles from the home campus in Nashville

Cate Zenzen  | 

Students in Vienna at a table with residents of the city.

Students enjoy a meal with a family they served in Vienna!

The Global Learning programs at Lipscomb University provide students with experiences of a lifetime. Not only are students studying and learning about new cultures, they serve the communities where they live for a semester -- just like students at the university’s main campus in Nashville serve others.

Lipscomb students in Vienna gathering walnuts.

Students studying in Vienna this semester served nearby residents this fall.

Each semester, students have the opportunity to express their gratitude and love for the city they temporarily call home in a service project. On Sept. 14, students who are studying in the fall 2019 Lipscomb in Vienna, Austria program served two main communities in the city. 

One student group visited a local Austrian Church of Christ to help with maintenance and basic upkeep tasks. This congregation focuses its ministry on service for refugees, immigrants and asylum seekers, and many members come from backgrounds of unspeakable heartbreak. Each year, students choose to spend their service day here, and Melissa Swann, resident director of Lipscomb in Vienna, said they are always impacted by their experience.

“Students who serve and connect with the congregation members each semester come back talking about how humbled and honored they are to serve and bear witness to their stories of survival, perseverance, faith and hope,” said Swann. 

Student cleaning in a nursery in Vienna

One of the service projects was at an a local Austrian Church of Christ.

Another group of students spent the day with elderly neighbors; cleaning, weeding, sweeping, hanging curtains, picking fruit and cracking walnuts. Afterwards, their hosts graciously welcomed the students into their homes with homemade, traditional Austrian delicacies, savory goulash soup and apple strudel. While the food was certainly a highlight, the real treat was fellowship with local Austrians. 

“I was nervous and unsure of how my day would play out, but by the end of the afternoon I had made several friends in the community who will leave an impression on me for many years to come. I spent the day hearing stories of family, war, and love; it was truly beautiful in every sense,” said student Maggie Cox

Swann said students were beaming with joy at this authentic experience and many have plans to visit their neighbors again later in the semester. Some even made a point to tell her this was their favorite day in Vienna thus far. 

Students working on curtains at a house.

Students served their neighbors in Vienna as part of a service day this fall.

Lipscomb in Vienna runs both in the fall and spring semesters. Each group consists of approximately 30 students along with Lipscomb faculty and staff members. Students may take 12-18 credit hours. 

Learn more about Lipscomb’s Global Learning Program at