Kirstin Rinke: Living in Vienna
Austria is a beautiful country with so much culture. In Vienna specifically, there are so many sights to see and history to learn about. Although most people speak English in Vienna, it helps to attempt speaking basic German words. The transit system is amazing, and it is so easy to get around the city.
There are always different events and activities happening around the city. It seems there is more to do with nightlife and festivals then in Vancouver. Traditional Austrian celebrations are a lot of fun, such as wine and beer festivals. I have gone to a few already and they are so much fun! The people in Vienna are definitely more stern then those in Vancouver when it comes to public interactions. At first, this was off-putting as it felt like people were rude. But really once you get to know Austrians, they are actually quite nice and extremely hospitable. Especially Austrians that grew up in Upper Austria or outside of Vienna. I think Viennese people simply are a bit more traditional in some ways that Vancouverites are not.
The University class structure is also much different. Attendance is really important, and there is group work every single class. The classes seem more laid back, and there is less work during the semester. The grades are more focused on the exams (which are fairly straightforward), attendance and group work, compared to the many assignments and projects we have at Capilano throughout the semester. It is a nice change of pace!
The start of the trip with the lost luggage and unsatisfactory accommodation put a sour start to the trip. BUT things got so much better once that was under control. All students should keep in mind the first month can actually be really hard but it always gets better. I have travelled to Europe a few times before and expected everything to be easy to get used to. Living in a different city definitely takes adjusting to, especially one with so much culture. Once I got used to getting around the city and made new friends, I felt much more comfortable. Now I love the city and am really enjoying living and studying here. Putting yourself outside of your comfort zone and making an effort to get to know the culture will make for an enjoyable exchange experience.