Back at home, I somehow always ended up with only one midterm or none at all. While everyone else was running around the computer lab, reloading money on their university ID cards in order to print out essay after essay, I was simply looking on with amused pity. At IES, however, I became one of these students who rewrote pages of notes, worked on essays until the computer lab closed, and got significantly less sleep than usual for the sake of studying. I am rather glad I was pushed like this, though–I can’t just coast through college if I want to leave with some worthwhile knowledge! I feel like I’m learning more this semester, and not just about school subjects. My literature class here is the first I have ever had that showed me how much I value writing and what it does for me as a shy, introspective young adult. This literature class is the first in which we’ve discussed the the effect of literature in something other than sterile, academic terms.
Aside from all the school happenings, I’ve been enjoying the arrival of my first Viennese winter! The Christmas markets have yet to appear, but I can’t wait until they do–even the roasted chestnut vendors on the streets brighten my mood on these cold days.
In Vienna I’ve been doing more aimless walking; the first weeks here were dedicated to definite destinations and visits to all the mandatory tourist attractions. Though the weather doesn’t permit very long periods of relaxed strolling, I have enjoyed several less popular sights, such as the Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery), where all sorts of noted personalities have been buried for centuries. The Strauss family of composers, Bach, and some more recent Austrian celebrities are buried here, and the center boasts one of Vienna’s two Jugendstil churches. This was by far the most elaborate cemetery I’ve ever seen!
And of course, after midterms we got a little time to travel…more on that later!