Ellishia – University of Vienna – Austria
Semester 2, 2022
Bachelor of Environmental Science
Firstly, Vienna is a city filled with beautiful architecture. The structure of the city is amazingly organised making it super easy and quick to walk anywhere within the inner city. Public transport is also very accessible, with semester tickets priced at around 75 euros, which is cheap in comparison to other western-European cities. If you like to bike, don’t worry, this is also the place for you. By bike you can get to most places in 10-20 minutes.
The night life in Vienna is great. There’s a huge variety of places to spend your evening, such as, night cafes, bars, clubs, jazz bars etc. Ranging from being trendy, modern, or grungy to more classical and historical. What I will really miss is the cheap wine, both in grocery stores and at bars.
I absolutely loved the cafe culture there, much of my time was spent socialising with friends at cafes and often studying there into the night. If you’re a coffee fanatic like me, you can find great quality coffee at hip cafes or go to the old Viennese cafes for a more cultural experience.
Throughout history and today, Vienna has been known for its fine arts scene, specifically music. With there being endless operas, Mozart concerts and other classical shows. The city also doesn’t fall short on museums and art galleries so whether you’re a history buff or interested in the arts there will be something for you.
The parks are also beautiful, my friends and I often went there on sunny days to eat and drink and It’s a great spot to read with there being many benches to sit on. There are great hikes all around Vienna, I went in the winter semester so I can imagine the walks being even more amazing in the summer. Vineyards surround the city, which is another great place to walk and get a drink at the cute bars-type shacks on the hills.
Not speaking German is not a problem at all. Most of the people who live there also speak English. Vienna is close to so many other countries, so it’s easy to travel around and find relatively cheap train tickets. Austria is a beautiful country that is worth seeing.
The international office for exchange students is extremely helpful and always replies to emails punctually. So, if you have any questions about classes, public transport, admin or general queries, don’t hesitate to ask. They also have in person office hours.
The structure of university is quite different to QUT, so you may get a shock. For example, some classes may be intensive for 2 weeks and then end. Others last the whole semester, however, either have multiple assessments due throughout the semester or only have one final exam that’s worth your whole grade. But don’t threat, if you fail an exam or a class you can retake the final exam once or sometimes twice, depending on the class. So, I recommend staying in the city a little bit longer after the semester ends so that (if you need to) you can retake exams. Most of the professors reply to your emails quickly and are willing to help a lot. A lot of professors don’t record lectures and some don’t even put the lecture slides online (although I didn’t have this problem), therefore you should attend your classes. Although the university classes are slightly less structured than QUT, the online “blackboard” system is good, and I did learn a lot from all my classes.
The main university campus is a very large and beautiful building with a grassy courtyard that is nice to sit in on a sunny day. The campuses have many areas to study. One negative is, I thought that there were not many good places to get food on campus, plus it was expensive. I had no classes in the main building, instead in multiple buildings scattered across the city (all within a 5–15-minute walking radius).
It is incredibly easy to make friends through “Erasmus” which is the exchange program in Europe. They host multiple events every week throughout the semester, such as, parties at clubs, socialising at bars, game nights, salsa dancing, dinners, hikes and much more. I made some of my new life-long friends from these events, they are definitely a must do.
I went with OEAD and stayed at Gumpendorferstrasse. I don’t really recommend this housing as I didn’t like the small rooms, shared kitchen or laundry system. The company OEAD itself was great in helping me get organised and settle in. Although, I wish I tried to get accommodation through normal flat share websites such as WG-gesucht. If you’re going to University of Vienna, the most ideal districts to live are 9, 8, 7 and 6. If you’re going to WU try 2, 3, 4, 5. Anywhere central is great, but as I said before the city has a good public transport systems – beforehand, check on google maps how long it will take you from your potential accommodation to university.
Find out how you can apply for exchange via the QUT Student Exchange website.