Friday, October 4, 2013

Out of Our Comfort Zone

Prior to coming here, I honestly did not know what to expect. I had never left the states before; all I had to go by was the stories of others and what I could find on Google. Based off of the sources, I came to the conclusion (as most would) that it would be incredibly beautiful and the most amazing experience of my life. Well, it turns out my assumptions were right, I just did not fully comprehend how beautiful and amazing it would actually be.

Sunrise During our layover in Amsterdam
En Route to Vienna

It was definitely a culture shock coming here. Almost everything is different, but I do not mean that in a negative way. I actually find that I like some things here much better than in America; from the cafes to the delicious food, from the beautiful architecture to having free universities. What’s not to love?

Slowly but surely our German has improved.
From figuring out menus...

At first, walking around the streets and seeing everything in German was definitely a bit scary. But, once we got over the fear of not being able to understand anything, we actually came to find that understanding the language was much easier than we thought. Don’t get me wrong; learning German is by no means easy. But we have come to recognize what different words or phrases mean without even learning them in a classroom setting. common household items, like our washing machine.

But, luckily for us, there is really not much of a language barrier considering a large percentage of the Austrian population speaks English. But, for those times that there have been people we have had to communicate with that do not speak English at all, there was not much of an issue. This situation is interesting, because it is actually really easy to understand each other  without actually being able to understand each other.

To be honest, I think the most difficult thing to adjust to was the six hour time difference.

When it comes to the sights of the city, I really cannot put into words how amazing it is. We have been to a number of different places throughout Vienna in our first month here. With every sight we see, I feel like I become more and more amazed. From the beautiful architecture to the vast landscapes of the country side, each sight has been just as amazing as the next...





Photo credit: Maggie Cochran
Photo credit: Maggie Cochran





Exterior: Romanesque Style
Interior: Baroque Style

Gothic vs. Baroque

Inside Monastery (in Melk): Baroque
Inside Stephansdom: Gothic


Pestsaule: indicating the end of the
Black Plague in Vienna
Hochstrahlbrunnen: commemorates
the completion of Vienna's water supply
Heldendenkmal der Roten Armee:
represents the soldiers in the Soviet Army
who were killed in the Battle of Vienna (WWII)

Points of Interest

Anker Clock

Kunst Haus

Parks around Vienna

The Theresianum Academy

The symbol of the Hapsburgs
Beautiful artwork in every room

The Library

The Chapel

Alte Donau

(Below are pictures of us on paddle boats on the river - It's fun with a beautiful view!)


Speaking of beautiful views...

View of Vienna from one of the towers of Stephansdom

Vienna at Night

The Oper

Just for Fun!


Prater - Amusement Park
Prater - Amusement Park

Modern Vienna

Vienna Woods

View of the city from the Vienna Woods
View of the mountains from the Vienna Woods

The Vienna Woods is known for its numerous,
beautiful vineyards

I have heard arguments that studying abroad is irrelevant if it does not pertain to your major. After beginning this wonderful journey, I have to say I could not disagree more. Although I am an English and Education major taking German and Mass Communication-related classes, I have never taken part in a more educational experience than the one I am on. These classes may not be a part of my major requirements, but when was the last time learning something new or different was bad for a person? And it is safe to say that this whole experience definitely pertains to life in general. By that I mean I have found that I am growing as a person tremendously; more than I ever could have without this experience. After all, college is supposed to prepare you as an adult to enter the real world, so what better way to do so than by being pulled out of your comfort zone and actually experiencing the real world?

At Logan Airport and ready to go!
Photo credit: Kelsey Devlin

Making friends with some local people
during our adventures at the Alte Donau

The group at the Vienna Woods
Photo credit: Harrison Csorny