Vienna, or Wien as known by Austrians, is like a dream. After officially being here for a little over a week, I have been able to explore various areas of the city. In the first few days, we were welcomed by the incoming team at WU who introduced us to Austrian and Viennese cultural norms, foods, and history. The welcome events were attended by all of the incoming exchange students at the university, therefore it was a unique opportunity to interact with individuals from all over the world. I have met people from Canada, The UK, France, The Netherlands, Turkey, The Czech Republic, Germany, Hong Kong, South Korea, Sweden, The Bahamas, Italy, Ukraine, Hungary, Australia, New Zealand, and many more locations. Within the first few days, I have already made many new friends. Additionally, we were able to be given a tour of the university by WU students. The campus is much smaller than Texas A&M but is extremely modern and well-constructed. You have the opportunity to sign up for a pre-semester cultural program in which 2 weeks are dedicated to exploring many of Vienna’s cultural landmarks and nearby cities. Next week some of our events include learning the Viennese Waltz, visiting the United Nations, touring Schönbrunn Palace, and attending a chocolate factory in Linz, Austria.

Overall, Vienna is a classical dream mixed with a modern touch. The city is incredibly well connected by public transport and dedicated towards sustainability. Although I have only been here a week, this experience has already been extremely eye-opening. This was my first time in Europe and this opportunity has allowed me to make connections with individuals who are incredibly diverse in nationality and thought. I have thoroughly enjoyed hearing about everyone’s stories of navigating life before and after embarking abroad. I am immensely grateful for this opportunity and I cannot wait to develop my skills individually and professionally.

Lastly, the food has been amazing. Vienna is a coffee lover’s dream and the assortment of pastries and cakes is astonishing. It is the cafe capital of the world and one of the Viennese specialties is the melange. Some of my other favorite meals have been Wiener Schnitzel, Goulash, Appel Strudel, and Sachertorte. The grocery stores here are very reasonably priced and of great quality. My classes do not begin until early March, therefore I am going to visit Budapest, Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Prague. I am currently missing Tex-Mex, my dog, and my family. However, I am grateful that I am able to video call them frequently and share my updates on life in Vienna. I cannot wait to see what lies ahead as I continue to navigate this journey abroad.

From Vienna,

Anneliese Cook