Oo Meh (’23): “I was easily able to feel at home in Vienna”
Thinking of my time in Vienna, I am in awe and extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to live and learn there. It brought me great comfort and a sense of freedom that I could go anywhere in the city by walking and/or taking public transport. One of my favorite activities was exploring areas outside of the city center. One day, after signing up for a badminton class, I took the Straßenbahn (tram) to a neighborhood mall and found it much more to my liking than the popular Wien Mitte mall. I also enjoyed the shopping center in the 10th district where I was introduced to delicious kebabs and ice cream. I discovered a Thai restaurant hidden in the 15th district that turned out to be my favorite Thai restaurant. In the same district, I found an Asian market that sold fresh and tasty samosas. These were some of the things that helped make Vienna feel like home.
Another favorite activity of mine in Vienna was bike riding, especially through Donauinsel and Prater park. I really appreciated the easy access to green spaces. I even rented city bikes between classes to explore the city and get fresh air. Since we did not have meal plans, I rose to the challenge and cooked often. With this, I developed a new passion: grocery shopping! I was especially ecstatic when strawberries were on sale! Grocery stores were located within walking distance of my hotel in all directions. On the social aspect, I love sharing my cooking with friends, and they were always willing to join me.
Not only did I meet great people in my program, but I also met some wonderful and warm locals, such as my language buddy, my public service internship team, and my friends at my hotel. In addition, I had wonderful, approachable, and kind professors.
Not surprisingly, Jakub was right: studying abroad did help me improve my German, though it took some time to get comfortable with practicing it in public. Studying abroad taught me to be more responsible for myself and to find things that make it feel like home when in a new location. Fortunately, I was easily able to feel at home in Vienna. So far, Vienna is the loveliest city I know, and I have been dreaming of my next visit.