My brain is organized into lists: to-do lists for the day, future goals and aspirations, and bucket lists stretching for miles and miles. My travel bug is responsible for making these bucket lists long; I have one for each place I visit, as well as a general one. Some of the items on the big bucket list are attending a lantern festival, dancing the night away at a ball, scuba diving in a coral reef, and going on a safari. To me, a bucket list item is not something to be taken lightly. So, during my travels, I have already had the privilege of checking off a few boxes like sea swimming, flying in a hot air balloon, and seeing the northern lights.
Studying abroad allows you to check off some of these items on your bucket list and to cross off experiences that weren’t even on your horizons! I am excited to do some of the following things in Austria:
1. Go to a ball…Did you know that was a thing? I certainly didn’t until I stumbled upon a TikTok (where all good discoveries are made) during the pandemic. The creator—who studied abroad in Vienna pre-covid—rented a gown and went to a ball for the evening with her friends. With further research, I discovered that between November and February, various organizations and guilds in the city of Vienna host balls, some that you can buy tickets to and some that are completely private. As someone who is obsessed with all things Regency Era (i.e. Bridgerton, Jane Austen novels and their film adaptations, etc), I jumped for joy when I learned that I too could go to a real-life ball. Maybe I’ll meet a dashing Austrian man who will sweep me off my feet and dance away the night (I’ll let you know if it happens).
2. Visit Lake Hallstatt…The town on the lake, Hallstatt, has been famous for its salt mining since prehistoric times, and the area is known for its stunning alpine scenery and crystal blue waters. I would love to take the train and spend a weekend there, preferably in the fall when the weather is still nice, and go to the salt mines, see the Ice Cave, and take a canoe out on the water.
3. Spend the evening at one of Vienna’s many Heurige…Heurige are wine gardens attached to small houses that serve some of Austria’s world-famous white wines and snacks such as cheese boards. These are very common establishments in Austria’s wine-growing regions like the Wachau Valley, serving the local wine in a fun environment with music and locals all around. This sounds like the ideal way to spend an evening to me, talking to people from Austria and getting to better know the history and tradition behind the Heurige.
I am also quite excited about some of the field trips that we will partake in during our stay in Vienna. As a part of the business program, my classmates and I will tour some of Vienna’s well-known companies to get a perspective on what international business looks like from an Austrian perspective. It will be a unique way to learn about Austrian business culture in a hands-on fashion, which I am really looking forward to.
As my departure to Vienna draws nearer, it can be hard to let these lists upon lists not overwhelm you, especially not knowing what to pack, what your living situation will be like, and the right phrases to use to overcome the language barrier once arriving. Fortunately, focusing on my bucket list and daydreaming about what daily life will be like this fall keeps me thrilled for what’s to come.
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Hi! My name is Grace Heaton and I am thrilled to be studying abroad in Vienna during the Fall 2022 semester. I am an incoming Sophomore at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA studying Marketing, French, and German. In my free time I enjoy traveling, learning languages, listening to music, going to coffee shops, and adventuring with friends! I am excited to immerse myself in Austrian culture this fall, and can't wait to see where this journey takes me!