Hello! This is my first blog post for my study abroad in Vienna, Austria! I have had the pleasure of being in Austria for about 2 weeks now and I absolutely love it! I love my accommodations in the second district of Vienna (The largest city in Austria). My dormitory is on Heinestraße 15 which is very close to a lot of the cities attractions. I am very happy with my singe room and everyone is very nice to me so far. I have met many people from all over Europe already! One of my really good friends here is from a small town in Austria but is studying with me in Vienna. He is a good friend and serves as the resident translator for everyone who does not speak German (most of the Americans here). Because I am attending Webster University, there are many people from the Main campus in St. Louis, Missouri and they are all good friends of mine, even though we only met 2 weeks ago. My first reaction of Austria was a positive one. I flew out on the 6th of January 20, 2017 to Paris and from Paris I flew to Vienna and landed on the 7th. The Vienna Airport is very nice and clean like the city. Unfortunately, Air France lost my snowboard on the way to Vienna possibly because it was a connecting flight. After claiming it missing, I took a taxi to my residence. Upon my arrival, I unpacked and passed out on my bed from jetlag. I woke up at 5 and decided to go out in the Viennese tundra (it was literally 8 degrees) and get some Austrian Cuisine. I met a group of people at the front door from Missouri and the 4 of us decided to go to a local restaurant offering authentic Austrian food. The restaurant called Schöne Perle was very good and close to the dorms. Me being a foodie, and having heard about the beer and wiener schnitzel being fantastic, I knew I had to try it. It was amazing and cheap too! Alex got the same as me, Sara got tortellini and Isabella got an Austrian beef stew called ---. After dinner, we went back to the dorm and there were people there getting ready to go out for Jilli’s birthday. I suggested, based on the group size, that we stay in and get drinks and party at the dorm which we did and was a lot of fun! That’s when I met Felix who is from Austria as well as Damir who is from Bosnia, who are two of my good friends here. The next day I woke up at 2 because of the jetlag and meandered downstairs to get some food where I found Felix and Damir and we went to go get food at the grocery store called Billa. So in Vienna, Sunday is a day of rest where barely anything is open but train stations have different rules, allowing grocery stores to operate. After a nice meal of sandwiches (not too sure what was on the sandwich because everything is in German, but it was very good) we wandered into the first district which has all of the high end shops as well as Vienna’s main cathedral, Stephansdom. The rest of the week was mainly housekeeping stuff as well as icebreakers for the dorm as well as Webster University. Thursday, we went to a bar called the Travel Shack which is a large, somewhat, American bar. This place was amazing. They have several rooms with all different types of music and the bar is known for having many international students from all over the world, which is very true. One night there and I met students from New Zealand, Manchester, Vienna, and Zimbabwe. I enjoyed my time at the bar very much. The next day we went to a restaurant called Centimeter in the 8th district, and this restaurant is known for having a dish called “The Sword” and it literally is a sword with 10 pieces of schnitzel and 10 pieces of pork cutlets on it served with chili, fries and chicken wings. This thing was incredible and delicious. After, we went to a bar with one of the Group leaders from Webster and had a couple of drinks before heading back to the dorm. The next day was Saturday, which marked a full week for me in Vienna. We went ice skating and whoever knows me, knows that skating is not my thing. So after looking like a newborn deer for an hour (it only felt like an hour, it was only 15 minutes) my friend Jackson and I decided that we would stop punishing our feet and return to dry land where is was safe. After returning our skates, we decided to feed on one of the best things that I have ever put in my mouth, Laberkäsesammel, which is like Austrian meatloaf but on a bun with mustard, indescribably good! Then we went to get more food and my second favorite Austrian food, Keiser Kleine which is a sausage with cheese inside served in a roll with mustard, ketchup and a Gösser beer, pure bliss. After the food coma, we returned back to the dorm where we prepared for Danzòn, a Latin club in the first district. I absolutely loved this club, it was so much fun because I was dancing the whole night to latin music which can’t be beat. Sunday was a lazy day but Monday was one of the most important days here by far. It was when I got my visa. I had to travel to Bratislava, Slovakia to the Austrian consulate there, hand in loads of paperwork and wait. So while we were waiting we explore Bratislava which has a mountain of history and whoever goes, must, must go to the UFO tower because it is the best view of the city. Also, go to St. Nicholas’ Cathedral where 11 Kings and 8 Kings wives were crowned, truly incredible. After waiting around 5 hours, I finally got my visa and returned to Vienna, only an hour train ride, for classes to start on Tuesday and I am taking 2 psychology courses as well as 1 politics course. The classes are not too much different but the semester is structured differently. Instead of having 5 classes a semester all at once, you take classes in between two terms, Spring 1 and Spring 2. The terms are broken into 8 weeks so Spring 1 is the first 8 weeks and Spring 2 is the last 8 weeks. So far it has worked pretty well for me and I like that I take only 3 classes this term and two classes next term because it allows me enough time to travel and complete my school work.
From having walked round and traveled through the city for a whole week, I feel as if Vienna is definitely one of the easiest cities to get around in. It has 23 districts and for the most part, the city looks like an onion starting with the first district in the center and each layer of the onion is another district, for the most part. I have found that the subway system, called UBahn, is very easy to get around on, a lot easier than New York City. Vienna is filled with endless amounts of history and much of the history can be relived by visiting one of Vienna’s many Museums and palaces. I am enjoying Vienna so far and I am looking forward to experiencing more of this wonderful city and telling all about it!