Finding Home in a New City

Elisabeth Bolton Headshot
Elisabeth Bolton
June 10, 2024

Coming from a rural background and never having lived in a big city before, I was worried about adjusting to a more urban lifestyle by coming to live in Vienna. I didn't know how my Appalachian identity would fit in here. Remarkably, it fits in pretty well.

Back home, so much is different from my life here. I have to drive to get anywhere back home, the supermarkets have all I need in one stop (cosmetics, groceries, and pharmacy), and it's quiet since there is not much to do during the week. But luckily, despite its size Vienna still feels kind of like a large town.

I have come to appreciate life in Vienna. I love commuting on the U-Bahn or S-Bahn or walking to wherever I want to go. The entire city is extremely walkable, and so far I have not felt unsafe while walking anywhere! And despite being a city, it's very quiet here, especially at night. Vienna has quiet hours after 10 p.m., so there's not much noise outside past sundown (not to say there is no nightlife!). I also find the grocery shopping and errand running charming and I find myself going grocery shopping a couple times a week since the food is so fresh here. My fears of feeling forgotten and out of place in this city have vanished. The Viennese and the IES Abroad crew are so kind and welcoming, and I haven't felt that I have wasted a single day being here.

Also, June is Pride month, and Vienna went all out this past weekend with their pride celebration! Though I was traveling this weekend, I did see them setting up the Pride parade at Rathausplatz and all the signs and murals throughout the city celebrating and uplifting the LGBTQ+ community here in Austria. Coming from a town where people are less tolerant of the LGBT community, it was so nice to see such open acceptance by the city of Vienna.

When I think about being so nervous about adapting to a new lifestyle in Vienna and how my rural identity would fit in, I wish someone had told me how easy it was to transition to life here. Learning how to use public transport may have been my only hiccup, but most GPS apps will save you there, and you can always ask for help. As far as feeling alone, as long as you maintain your connections at home and try to make friends with your classmates, your time here will be a breeze. Making friends that are kind and accept me as I am has helped me feel so at home here.

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Elisabeth Bolton Headshot

Elisabeth Bolton

Hi! I'm Elisabeth, and I'm a psychology major and neuroscience minor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. This is my first time traveling abroad! My favorite things to do in my free time are journaling, taking walks, and scrapbooking!

2024 Summer 1
Home University:
University of Tennessee - Knoxville
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