Months into the spring semester, I began to wonder when spring would actually arrive. Around me were subtle changes; the grass was slowly becoming greener and the day was lasting a little bit longer, but that was not enough for me. With the season's change, I was inspired to look back on how much or how little I have changed since the start of the program.
Slowly but surely the city around me continued to change. It seems amazing to me that I have been in Vienna for around three months now. Time has gone by in a blur. Each day I imagined that I still had so much time. I suppose I have a few regrets, namely that I should not have procrastinated so much. There is so much to do in Vienna if you are open to trying new things. I admittedly had a hard time adjusting, and I am still experiencing some troubles. Like how from afar, I admired the café culture of staying at a café for hours at a time, unbothered by the waiter. But in reality, I found that I would prefer to have my caffeine fix and then leave as soon as I wanted to instead of having to wait for the waiter.
I think that my time in Vienna met my expectations. It is so easy to get carried away in dreams of a marvelous study abroad experience, but it is important to know that your experience does not have to be perfect to be acceptable. I’ve heard so many people explain how their study abroad experience was life-changing and that it was the best part of their college experience, but I have not heard people talk about negative experiences. Likewise, I think that it is important to not let your expectations become impossible to fulfill.
One of my biggest fears, when I decided to study abroad, was that I was going to waste my opportunity. I worried that I would let the time I had in Vienna slip away without appreciating it enough. I told myself that I was not going to have this kind of experience again. Even if I were to return to Vienna, or anywhere, I would not have a program to help me navigate the city. But it is difficult and exhausting to try and do everything. Some days I stayed in and had a chill day of doing nothing. Even if I did not get around to going to an art museum, these days of relaxation were still absolutely worth it.
On an unexpectedly hot Easter, my roommate and I explored the Shönbrunn Easter Market. There were several Easter Markets around the city, but I found that the Shönbrunn had the most charm. The market consisted of many little shops connected together. The vendors sold Easter ornaments, soaps, glass clocks, and much more. We wandered around the Easter market that stretched out through the entire courtyard. The market actually reminded me of a farmer’s market.
Afterward, we walked up to the overlook. I surveyed the city that I lived in for the past few months. It felt familiar to me, a sight that I could recognize even ten years from now. Although I did not accomplish everything I had planned, I felt that I could now finally say that I had truly lived in Vienna. And that is enough for me.
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<p>I am currently a student at the University of Vermont, where I am pursuing an English degree. I have two older sisters. I I love reading, swimming, and coffee.</p>