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Study Abroad

Life in an Austrian Dormitory

Jay Godfrey

Life in an Austrian dormitory can be one of your best experiences while in Europe. You are thrown into a residence with other students from all over the world. It's like being thrown into five to ten different cultures at once. In fact a friend of mine who came to visit said she felt like she was at the U.N. The conversations that arise between friends from so many different cultures during an evening tea or beer are not only incredibly interesting, they're also extremely educational. I learned so much from these conversations that you just can't be taught at a University anywhere. It really gives you a whole new perspective on how you and others view the United States and the rest of the world. Some of my best memories stem form these conversations, and some of my best friends from my time in Vienna are the student in my dorm.

Also, because of the generally high restaurant prices in Vienna, students often cook for themselves. Living in a dormitory with other students, you learn recipes form many different countries. It's like living in an international restaurant at times. I found, too, that some of the best parties in Vienna were in the dorms across Vienna.

That's not to say there aren't any disadvantages in living in a dorm. You might find that it isn't always be the best place to learn German. It may be tempting to speak English there because you'll frequently run into one or two exchange students whose German is not as good as their English. If you find yourself giving in to the temptation, you can always take the initiative to resist it. There also are plenty of other places to learn German, and I think that everyone in the Program made big improvements during my year in Vienna. In my opinion, the advantages of living in a dorm far outweigh the disadvantages.