What I probably love the most about Vienna is how peaceful it is. I revel in the fact that I can go out into the first district and enjoy the bustle of city life without being overwhelmed by the sound of car horns and people yelling over each other. You might say it's because Vienna is full of old people, and honestly, you wouldn't be wrong. However, that doesn't mean there isn't anything fun to do. Yes, if you make noise in your apartment after 10 pm, you might get the cops called on you. But most bars and clubs are open until anywhere from 3-5 AM, and I've found much more variety in nightlife here than in the States.
Sundays are chill vacation days for Austrians, a fact that my little old lady heart just adores. Nothing is open except for some cafes, museums and restaurants; so get your grocery shopping done on Saturday. Or, realistically, on Monday, Thursday and Saturday because everything is sold in much smaller portions here, and the fridges are just too small to hold bulk amounts of groceries anyway.
As for the experience of being an American in Vienna -- I have had very few uncomfortable experiences with Austrians. Most people are even willing to converse with you in German if you try. I imagine it has to do with the fact that Vienna is in the middle of Europe and there are people from everywhere here; and of course, being an American is a hot topic right now so they very often want to pick your brain. Not being white has also not been an issue (for me, anyway—I can’t speak for the experience of others because there are obviously many categories among the scope of being colored). I feel like I blend in with the significant Turkish population in Vienna, at least until I speak and it becomes obvious that I’m not from Austria at all.
And my favorite topic… music in Vienna! As you can imagine, Vienna is heaven for a classical musician. Within my first two weeks here, I got to see the Chicago Symphony two nights in a row, which I rarely ever had the opportunity to do in the US. And then the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra the weekend after. Last weekend, I went to the Vienna State Opera and watched the world-famous Anna Netrebko perform for 4 euros (but I did have to wait in line for four hours). Not to mention that the Vienna Philharmonic’s season has begun and now I can go see them any weekend as well. Casual. Even beyond the formal classical music scene, there are always interesting things going on around here in terms of new music, visual art, theatre, and cinema. This place is just a hub of art and culture everywhere you look (and listen).
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<p>Hello! I am currently in my second year at the University of Virginia, studying Economics and Music. I’ve decided to take a semester to study music in what is quite possibly the best place in the world to do it – Vienna, Austria. I have been playing the French horn for ten years, but I can’t wait for the new experiences Vienna will bring me, and to document and share all my adventures!</p>