Spending an entire semester abroad takes daring and a sense of adventure. Vienna Liu definitely has both! She spent last fall in Austria, in the city of Vienna, where she had the adventure of a lifetime. While in Vienna, she kept a journal of her experiences. Check out the first part below!
My First Day in Vienna – Oct. 2nd, 2013
After tightening my seat belt and taking a few deep breaths of excitement, I was all but ready to be carried off to Vienna, the city that I have only dreamed about since my childhood. Yet, in between these moments of joy and excitement, I also felt anxious, slightly worried, and unsure of myself. What if the city of my dreams was totally different in reality from the mesmerizing scenes of European villas that my mind stored? What if I got lost and couldn’t find my way? Would someone lend me a helping hand or would I find no one to turn to for help? What if…?
When I finally arrived, I couldn’t help feeling very lost. The streets were nearly empty, the shops appeared to be closed, the houses were flat, yellow buildings with grotesque and medieval architecture in comparison to New York’s fancy skyscrapers and bustling streets filled with people from everywhere in the world.
I suddenly felt very helpless among this empty void of space and flat buildings. “Entshuldigen Sie, Wo, wo.. ist Schaffergasse,” I asked stutteringly in German a few passersby that I found. With the help of a map, hand gestures, and a few words of English here and there, I was glad to have finally made it to my dorm by the end of the day.
Oct. 10th, 2013 – Vienna Central
While I was on my way to purchasing a local phone, I saw many beautiful Greco-Roman style buildings in the main district which was dotted with modern, European boutiques, restaurants, and cafes. Similar to New York City, there were tourists from all over the world in Vienna’s central district, yet the atmosphere and the quaint little shops also made the area distinctive. I could see the traditional vendors and restaurants selling schnitzel, stuffed sausages, and other local specialties.
Vienna Central, also known as Innere Stadt, has a rich and beautiful history. During the early 10th century, the city center was covered by a Roman military camp. To this day, traces of the Roman conquest can still be seen around the city.
Trip to Krems – Oct. 18th, 2013
After washing up and eating a quick breakfast, I went out into the daybreak. In the early morning, there was still a lingering mist from the night. The streets were almost completely vacant save for a few cyclists rushing to and fro. I caught the train from Karlsplatz and it took me half an hour to get to Heiligenstadt, At the Heiligenstadt station, more people were coming in. The clattering of their footsteps brought me back to the busy NYC subway stations. After another half hour of waiting, I was on the train to Krems. As I sat near the window, I saw very pretty pastures and little houses dotted neatly in a row along the green hilltops. When I got to Krems, it was 9am. Outside, I immediately smelled the fresh shrubs and flowers. I took a shuttle bus to the beautiful Danube Campus which was located in the middle of hilltop residences. Arina, the program coordinator, gave me a tour of the campus and showed me the different buildings there. The student cafeteria and hostel were located conveniently nearby. We took the elevator and reached the top of the building, where Arina showed me my classroom. Through the glass windows, we could see the top of the green and yellow hills. It was a great view.
Coming next week: Vienna’s first day of class and her visit to Hallstatt.
About Vienna Liu: Vienna is completing her M.S. in Statistics this semester. She studied Linguistics at Tulane University where she enjoyed learning about other cultures and languages.