Tuesday, 25 November 2014 10:11

AAS-Sofia in Vienna at HOSIC 2014

A staff member from the Anglo-American School of Sofia, Luis Murillo, reflects on his first HOSIC experience.

“If we are going to study something deadly serious,” so I mused, “we better have some decent breakfast first.” Standing saggy and sleep-deprived on that corner of the Jewish quarter of Vienna’s central district, we sipped our black coffee and munched on Apfelstrudel, thickly layered like the rococo ceiling of the church next door. It was a frisky morning and we had gotten up at an irritatingly early hour, but after the potent breakfast and quick stroll through Vienna’s elegant first district, the edge of tiredness had blunted and we wandered to Bergstrasse 9…

Looking out the window of the apartment, I thought, “this is the view he had every morning, one of the most influential thinkers ever. He looked out through this window, gazed at this mirror.”  Walking up the stairs his patients would read this very sign: “Prof. Dr. Freud”. This was his home and medical cabinet, until the Nazis made him flee. We admired the antiquities he collected. At the end of his life he said he knew more about archaeology than he did about psychology. He felt one studied the mind the same way one studied civilization, by digging into the hidden depths for fragments and remains. Digging,… hard work… sweat on the brow.

Lead by students from the American International School of Vienna, we discovered the special connection between the Austrian capital and mind, the topic of this year’s HOSIC conference.  Strolling through the Leopold Museum, we pondered how this surfacing of the hidden corners of Geist had triggered an explosion of unsettling and controversial new art. In a series of seminars organised by students from a handful of Central and Eastern European international schools, we examined the connection between mental states and the body, learned about emotions such as fear, attraction, and anxiety, puzzled at the implications of biological determinism. Some of the presentations were like the ones we see in IB Psychology, in ToK or in university. Most of the presentations were thoroughly well-prepared, engaging, and thought-provoking. It was good and challenging to see and learn from them, and to see students teach themselves and their teachers. To say the HOSIC (hands on student involvement conference) was a success would not do justice to it… it was more than a success… It was a challenge.