I’ve been living in Vienna for two months now, (which is kind of scary in itself – I’m over a third of a way through exchange and I’ve somehow survived 2 months of solo living). In these two months, I’ve realised Vienna is an incredible city to live in.
People often ask me why I chose Vienna: the locals with a tone of disbelief in their
voice, and Australians with a genuine curiosity, bordering on slight doubt. For me, it’s because of the experience. When else will I be able to live in such a different country? Any move overseas takes courage. I’m not tooting my own horn here, but if you want to see how courageous you are, making your first move out of home to a country on the other side of the planet is a pretty good litmus test. I did it to test myself. I can safely say that I’ve successfully achieved that objective. Whilst there have been moments where I’ve questioned my sanity in taking the leap to go on exchange, it’s
been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and the liveability and charm of Vienna has helped make the transition very smooth.
The metro system here (as it generally is throughout Europe) is great – it’s very efficient, interconnected, and the apps to figure out how to get from point A to B are also easy to navigate. I think when I come home, that’s going to be one of the things I’ll miss the most about Vienna.
I study at WU – the Vienna University of Economics and Business. Like at QUT, the staff are passionate about what they teach. However, the assessment style and the way classes are run are a little different from QUT. There’s a heavy emphasis here on class participation, and assessment tends to be numerous smaller assignments, or assessed homework, rather than the traditional ‘Assignment/Mid-Sem/Final’ that we’re used to at QUT. Class length and regularity also vary considerably – some classes are 3 hours (generally semester-long), others can be 8 hours, because they’re
intensives (like Summer semester). Some classes may be twice a week for a month, or they may be once a week for the semester, or until Christmas: this is both a blessing and a (mild) curse. Blessing because it means you aren’t locked into a timetable, giving you freedom to traverse Europe through semester. It’s only a mild curse because you can’t remember your room or timetable.
The campus is also incredibly modern – the oldest buildings there are from about 2013, when the university relocated to its present location. This lies in stark contrast to the rest of Vienna, where every building looks gorgeous, no matter how mundane its purpose.
Whilst Vienna is not quite as integrated with nature as Brisbane is, there are plenty of walks through green areas on the city’s fringes. These are all easily accessible by public transport, and you could very easily spend 4-5 hours just following the trails, like I did when I walked through the beautiful Vienna Wood.
Two months in and my exchange in Vienna is proving to be a fantastic adventure – I’m still always finding new things, and I can’t believe how the time has flown.