September 3rd 2018 marked a special day in my life. It was the day I finally moved abroad to study outside of the UK. My home university, University of Sussex, offered me the chance to study abroad for a whole year for my 3rd year of studies, and it’s safe to stay I jumped at the opportunity. I’m now currently living in the 22nd district of Vienna, studying at one of the newest campuses worldwide- Wirtschaftsuniversität (WU) or more commonly known as Vienna University of Economics and Business. At Sussex I study Maths with Finance, I’m here now in Vienna studying Finance and couldn’t be happier.
Having the chance to move away from the known into the unknown was super appealing to me, I think the independence of studying abroad massively surpasses the independence of studying in your home country. Knowing that I’m not just a couple trains away from home is kinda weird but exciting, if anything doesn’t go to plan, I have to sort it myself and I really thrive off of independence. Also packing my life away into 2 suitcases proved a little tricky, but just managed to prioritise the necessities over the luxuries.
I’ve now been here for 2 weeks and I feel I’ve finally settled in. The lifestyle here is very different from home, simple tasks such as shopping now become a complicated task because of the language barrier. Nevertheless the staff in supermarkets are friendly and we always manage to communicate through some weird hand gestures and through a smile. A meat like chicken which is so readily available in the UK is rare and more expensive here so I’m having to adjust what I’m eating here. I haven’t quite figured out what all of the minced meats are and bananas are a little complicated to buy. Things like pasta and anything Italian is very cheap which is definitely a welcomed change. The public transport here is really good, the main method of travelling being the UBAN which is the underground, it has 5 lines and pretty much goes everywhere around Vienna. There’s also tram lines and buses here but I’m yet to figure out how they work, or where they go. I’m living in student accommodation here, I’ll be living with 3 others when they eventually move in. The accommodation is very modern, like the rest of the area I’m living in. My room is quite big, with a single bed, a big desk and a nicely sized cupboard. The kitchen is also a bit different from home, it doesn’t have an oven… which means I really am having to adjust the food I’m eating, but it’s a welcome challenge. Only around half of this mini city is fully built, and it’s on the end of the 2nd UBAN line, they’re extending outwards so a lot of maps don’t actually have my stop on them. Nevertheless I quite enjoy living in this cool little area.
I haven’t started actual uni yet, I’m here for a pre-semester German language course and the Orientation & Cultural program. The pre semester German course is proving to be very useful so far, 4 days a week, for 3 hours a day is a lot but means I’m picking it up very quickly, considering I’ve never spoken or written a word of German before. The teacher’s a little crazy and very energetic but her knowledge of Vienna is insane so picking up loads of tips and advice at the same time as studying the language. The Orientation & Cultural program is designed for us exchange students to speed sightsee which is amazing. I’ve already visited so many sights in central Vienna, as well as having a trip to Gratz, a city South-West of Vienna. A highlight of Gratz is the Zotter chocolate factory, definitely worth a visit if you ever visit Austria. The Stepansdom, Schönbrunn Palace and Hofburg Imperial Palace are all must-sees in Vienna.
Thanks for reading this little insight into my first couple weeks of moving abroad, if there’s anything you want me to cover, feel free to drop me a message, and if not, I’ll speak to you in the next one.