Frozen in Time

April Johnson
March 7, 2017

It’s been over a month now since I got to Vienna and it let me tell you, it has FLOWN by. When I first got here, I was a teeny bit worried about committing to 4+ months in a foreign country isolated from everything I knew and loved in America. It’s a daunting feeling, knowing that home was kept away by at least 15 hours of flying and a steeply-priced plane ticket. Unlike living in Boston, where I would sometimes buy a spontaneous plane ticket home, this was all or nothing.

So, it comes to my great surprise that nearly two months later, I am still in love with my study abroad experience. I look forward to all my weekends away from Vienna but always look forward to coming back to my little apartment in the 5th district. It would be far from the truth to say that everyone here feels the same way. There are plenty of people who were homesick in the opening days of the program, some who are homesick now, and many who will become homesick later. It may hit me later (especially after my parents visit) but I have definitely made an active effort to keep myself from feeling homesick—something I went through when I first left for college-- and somehow, it worked.

What worked for me was to surround myself with people that I liked and to keep myself busy when I wasn’t tired. I would explore Vienna, go to cafés, or hang out with people. Vienna is such a large city, with its 23 districts, that you could never really get bored. There’s an endless number of things and places that you could explore. I even got to see one of my favorite bands in concert, The xx. If you’re ever looking for something to do, you could simply google ‘what to do in Vienna this week’ and guaranteed, you’ll find something. This, and Lonely Planet, are my go-tos for finding something to do whenever I get bored. Staying busy most of the time made me appreciate times when I would just go home and sit for hours by myself and indulge on Hulu, Netflix, or a good book. Giving yourself time to rest is a sure way to prevent yourself from burning out. There were a few times last week when I definitely thought I would pass out from exhaustion (think overnight buses, birthdays, studying for tests, and cancelled flights).

The sum of this all is that my time in Vienna and studying abroad is flying by way too fast. I wish I could just hit the pause button sometimes and prolong this time in my life when I am going through so many new experiences, meeting some of the most amazing people, and learning more about myself than I ever have. Vienna, with its Habsburg influences and sweeping ball season, is very much a city frozen in time but here I am—here we all are, moving through her much too fast.  

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April Johnson

<p>April is a junior at Harvard University studying Neurobiology and Astrophysics. When she is not in the lab or looking at the stars, she likes to force her friends to listen to the Hamilton soundtrack, get away to the beautiful beaches of Southern California, and plan spontaneous trips. April is studying in Vienna, Austria this spring to drink lots of coffee, learn some German, and finally learn how to Waltz.</p>

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