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Study Abroad

You will get everything out of it that you put into it – and more!

My first comment to all those are who have either already decided to study abroad in the wonderful city of Wien, or to those who are still considering it, is that you can do it. Although studying abroad was something I had always wanted to do, and I was very excited about it, I was also very nervous about my new adventure. To all those who are worried about living in a new city half-way across the world, being away from family and friends, speaking a new language…you can do it… and you’ll LOVE it!!

Wien is a wonderful place where East meets West. It is a place of great historical significance and cultural opportunities, where meeting new people can be an everyday experience. Studying in Wien can be one of the most wonderful experiences of your life, but you will only get out of it what you put into it. I could rave for days on end about how wonderful my semester was (and if you want to know more, please ask), but here is some food for thought to help you decide to go or as you’re planning your trip.

First of all, your experience in Wien will be what YOU make of it. In order to make Wien the best that it can be, you have to first figure out what you want to get out of it. Whether you want to travel, really improve your German, meet new people or anything else, you have the power to make it happen (and Professor Murray is there to help).

Secondly, if you are planning on studying for the entire academic year or even just the semester, I can’t emphasize enough that you should go on ski week. For intermediate and advanced skiers, there is no more beautiful place than the Alps. Even if you’ve never skied before, there are wonderful instructors to help you learn and make sure you have a good time. So imagine getting up in the morning, having breakfast, skiing all day, then coming back to a sauna and a nice hot shower before dinner and having nothing to do but hang around and enjoy yourself. Plus, one of the biggest advantages of ski week is the chance to get to know the other students. Even if these people don’t end up becoming your best friends, it is nice to have familiar faces when you’re so far away.

Another piece of advice I have is to try your best to speak German, meet Austrians and see as much as of Wien as you can. It is very easy to switch to English when you hang out with other people from the program or when you live in Haus Erasmus with all the other international students. I encourage you to meet the other students, but also make a point to meet Austrians and really submerse yourself in the language. Also, take advantage of everything you can in Vienna. Go to the museums, sit in the gardens of Schloss Schönbrunn, dress up and go to see concerts, theater, walk around the city at night, go for ice cream in the first district…and the list goes on. Once you get back, you’ll regret it if you didn’t take advantage of all you can.

I studied in Vienna for a single semester, but I left with a lifetime of memories. I spent days hanging out with friends, sitting for hours at a coffee shop, and others walking around the city, enjoying the sights. I made friends for a lifetime and discovered my independence. This is your chance to do something extraordinary and have an adventure you’ll remember forever. I wish you all the best of luck.

As we all say, Mit freundlichen Grüßen,

Amanda Park
Spring 2006