Hallo und grüß Gott from Wien!
I’ve been incommunicado the past few days, but now that I’m settled I figured it was finally time to sit down and check in! A little about what I’m up to:
On January 13th I hopped on a plane with a semester’s worth of clothing and a stack of blank staff paper to study music and psychology in Vienna as part of the IES Abroad Music in Vienna program. For those of you who don’t know, Vienna is located in Austria and is home to about 1.8 million people. The city is divided into 23 districts which are arranged in a sort of spiral shape with District 1 at the very center. Vienna is often referred to as the city of music and has been home to many notable composers. If you’re interested in the music scene, I plan on attending as many concerts as possible (I even plan on braving a few hours of opera) so I’ll be sure to cover some of these adventures in future blogs!
Anyway, we (the IES students) had a 3 day orientation in a hotel at the edge of the city in District 11. Opportunities for exploring were fairly limited during this time but I managed to squeeze in a few exploratory walks. My first excursion was brief; a group of jet lagged IES students and I ended up in a fast food place where I bought a falafel and encountered the Austrian phenomenon of corn-topped pizza. Aside from my mundane food discoveries, I also poked around a few shopping malls and happened upon the city cemetery. Most of my time, however, was spent in mandatory and lengthy IES information sessions.
Orientation is (quite thankfully) over and I moved into my apartment two days ago. I’m living with four other girls from different schools across the US (all musicians!) and a wonderful RA (a Resident Austrian) named Susanne. We have an amazing practice facility on the corner of the building with 7 sound proof practice rooms, each with a glossy upright piano. The fifth district is much closer to the center of the city (20 minutes by U-Bahn/subway) and I’ve finally been able to get a better look at things.
So far we’ve visited the Palais Corbelli where I will be taking classes (you read that right, I am taking classes in an old palace) and perused the surrounding shopping areas. I’ve only just begun exploring so I don’t have much to report at the moment, but I will say that the architecture of the city is stunning. Even the exterior of McDonald’s is nice to look at (and their veggie burgers are equally nice to eat)!
After I establish a more concrete routine I look forward to posting some more creative and culturally exploratory blogs! I’m really interested in how Austrian culture balances leisure time and self care with work. I also plan on devoting an entire blog to cheese. Anyway, stay tuned for more! Auf Wiedersehen and happy spring semester!
*Special thanks to Hannie, my lovely housemate, for being a photographer and lending me a few shots!