Molly Hill, March 31st, 2015
March is coming to an end and so are classes for Easter Break here at WU! It feels like we have barely started and we already have two weeks of freedom to travel. No complaints!
The month began with a series of really bad luck on my part including having my debit and credit cards stolen while on a train to Venice. I learned that, while studying abroad, that often you get put in situations you never would sitting comfortably at home. Expect the worst and come prepared for that! It’s very hard to always keep this in mind when you’re used to a much safer culture in that sense but it’s vital! I’ve been thankful in quite a few situations that I brought a back up cell phone, have several ways to get money, and always have backup cash.
March was all about getting reacquainted to the side of student life that is studying as well as traveling to border countries! Austria shares a border with Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Italy AND Switzerland and has an extremely small country this means all are so easy to get to. It is one of the many perks of this country. In March we visited Venice and Budapest as well as got a look at Bratislava, Slovakia while receiving our visas. I also got to see the beautiful city of Salzburg, Austria – the setting and filming location of Sound of Music as well as Mozart’s birthplace. Every single place I have visited have been great experiences.
Classes at Wirtschaftuniverstät Wien are structured very differently than at A&M. While technically you meet an average 3 hours a week just as we do back home these 3 hours generally happen all at once. Some classes even combine several weeks worth of hours into just a few 9 hour days throughout the semester. A 3 hour class will have a 15 minute break where you can go get food at one of the several places on-campus that serve food (I swear, there are more markets, bakeries, and restaurants on campus than classrooms) or get €0.85 coffee out of the vending machines. Classes consist of lectures like back home but also incorporate much more group based work and active participation. It’s a different way to learn but I am getting used to it quickly!
As it is getting warmer the city is getting increasingly beautiful! Running along the Danube river or walking around Naschmarkt (a huge flea market that is open Monday through Saturday) I am constantly taken away by the city. In the next month I hope to further explore the city and around the city – the Vienna woods is apparently an amazing place to hike.
As for the Viennese culture – as much as I love it and am beginning to acclimate more and more every day it never fails to be a challenge. The language barrier is especially difficult. Entering someone’s country and expecting them to use your language instead of their own is not something I like to do. Of course learning English here is extremely common and you will always find someone that will be able to understand and communicate with you. I have learned to find the German interesting language however and really hope by the time I leave I have picked up a good amount of it!
That’s it for March! It was a month of traveling and classes and another great one for study abroad!