Like You and Me

Ramon Giron-Melendez
May 31, 2013

Foreign. They always talk about how different your semester abroad will be. You prepare for the worst saying goodbye to the little things that make home feel like home. Yet, surprisingly, despite Vienna’s great pride in being Viennese, it has had the remarkable tendency to surprise me with it frequent Americanisms. For example, although Vienna has a laundry list of desserts to choose from, one can still forage the streets and find a delightful Frozen yogurt stand. Yes, Frozen Yogurt does exist in Austria. Now it may not be of a Pinkberry ambiance, but you can still get your fill of dairy based tart sweet products. It does the job.

Speaking of sweet things, are you also into bubble tea in the states? Fear not! With some patience and a careful eye bubble tea shops can be discovered and enjoyed. However, it is a bit different here. Not only do they cater to a more Viennese audience with a much more diverse set of fruits, but they also have real-live bubble pellets of flavor that explode in your mouth as you drink the tea. I know, crazy. It’s like World War III in there. And finally for all you cookie fiends who cannot live without your cookie batter and such, you will still be able to manage in Austria. Trust me, I’m the kid who brought a packet of Double-Stuffed Oreos with him to Vienna, you know, just in case, and if I can make it, so can you. Many may not know but Vienna’s best-kept secret is its triple chocolate cookies located in their local McDonalds. Soft, chewy, and pleasing, you’ll instantly be transported into dessert heaven; Viennese chocolate is no match for your American trained taste buds! However if chocolate chips aren’t your thing, the Toffee Caramel is a gift from Heaven poised for your happy eating and consumption.

And if all else fails, you’ve still got your Oreos. Yes, out of all the little American things that could have snuck into Vienna’s imperial culture Oreos have crossed the Atlantic. You can always rest assure that with Oreos, home is always but a 2 Euro purchase away. Some might say because Vienna has become so international you’re bound to find American “delicacies” all over the place. And although this may be true, one can’t help but let a smile creep onto one’s face whenever an unexpected reminder of home tiptoes into Vienna’s grand historical world, and lets you know, perhaps they aren’t as different as you thought they were.

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Ramon Giron-Melendez

<div><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Ramon, originally from Boston, MA, is a Junior currently studying History at Columbia College. Specializing in Eastern European history with a focus on the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, he hopes to deepen his understanding of the fundamentals of the dual monarchy during his time in Vienna. Through comparative research of geo-politically marginalized regions, he aims to find new ideas to aid development in the 3rd world. Strongly believing that everyone has an inner child, he actively works to raise awareness on the rights of children worldwide through is involvement as co-president of the Columbia Child Rights group. However what most captures Ramon&rsquo;s imagination is his admiration for one of Europe&rsquo;s greatest institutions, The Eurovision Song Contest itself! Eagerly following year round developments, Ramon enjoys watching how countries choose to represent themselves to the world and how they project their national identities unto this unique international platform. A passionate fan of music, he spends as much time as possible following the music industry. He can usually be found reading Rolling Stone magazine, keeping his eyes peeled for new emerging music genres, and eagerly looking out for new artists on the rise!</span></div>

2013 Spring
Home University:
Columbia University - CC and SEAS
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