Adventures in Vienna Public Transportation

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Carissa Corrigan
October 24, 2022
Adventures in Vienna Public Transportation

The doors didn’t open. The train started moving again. My roommates and I looked at each other in horror. Oh, no, we thought. That was our stop! 

On the morning after my arrival in Vienna, a few of my roommates and I walked to a local Drei shop to get our Austrian SIM cards. After a bit of confusion, we were able to purchase the exact plan that we wanted. The IES Abroad Vienna Student Affairs Coordinator provided a handout in our welcome packets that included the recommended phone plans. It was really helpful to bring along the sheet to the store to show the Drei representative the plan that we were looking for.

On our way back to our apartment, we walked past our street and got a bit turned around. Since it was getting close to the time we were supposed to meet the group in front of our apartment building, we decided to meet the group at the IES Abroad Vienna center. Luckily, there was a U-bahn (Vienna’s metro system) station close by, so we boarded the train towards the IES Abroad Center. After the doors closed behind us, the intercom announced the next stop. Once the train arrived, the doors opened. Some passengers got off, while others got on. Then, the doors closed again. Once again, the intercom announced the next stop. Once the train arrived at that stop, again, the doors opened. Some passengers got off, while others got on. Then, the doors closed again. 

The next stop was ours. The intercom announced the stop. The train arrived at the station. The doors didn’t open.

As the train started moving again towards the next stop, we devised a plan. We would just get off at the next station and take the train back one stop in the other direction. We would still make it to our stop in time.

Once we approached our stop from the other direction, the train came to a stop. The doors opened and we got off. Success!! We met our group outside the U-bahn station, as they were on the train that arrived shortly after ours. When we asked our VCA (Vienna Cultural Assistant) why the doors didn’t open when we arrived at our stop the first time, we learned that there is a small button on the door that you have to push to get them to open. 

Although this is just one example of a situation where I made a mistake in this first week (I can recount several other experiences that have to do with transportation alone), it’s a great reminder that it’s okay to make mistakes, because they are a great way to learn. If we hadn’t missed our stop, it might have taken us much longer to learn that we needed to push the button to open the doors, and we might have had more of a time crunch than we did on that day.

Now well into the semester, I am proud to say that I know the Vienna public transportation system well, although I still occasionally have my mix-ups. Did I almost take the U-bahn the wrong way on the morning of an IES Abroad excursion? Maybe…luckily one of my roommates was with me to remind me that we wanted to take the U-bahn the opposite direction to the way that we usually take to get to the IES Abroad Center. Did I really take the streetcar the wrong direction to the wrong train station the morning a few of my friends and I were on our way to Hallstatt? Yep, that definitely happened (we still made it to our train at the right train station on time, though!). Even though I’ve had a lot of mixups, I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn from them and grow with those experiences.

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Carissa Corrigan

Hallo! Ich heiße Carissa. I’m a Westmont College senior who is double majoring in Music Education and History. I am an enthusiastic musician and play the oboe and English horn. In my not-so-free time, you can usually find me baking cupcakes or cookies, painting, or planting seeds in my garden.

2022 Fall
Home University:
Westmont College
Gilbert, AZ
Music Education
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