Monday, February 27, 2012

Andriy D. - Vienna, Austria - Spring 2012

Grüss Gott Elmhurst Students! My adventure began long before my departure to Austria; however I truly knew I was on my way when I boarded the plane in O’Hare Airport. After about 4736 miles and 10 hours of sleepless flight I finally arrived in Vienna.
During the beginning days of my trip I worried about the language barrier. I had two semesters of German prior to my arrival, but it was more than 3 years before my trip began. At first I was struggling to order food in the restaurant; however, after completing 3 weeks of intensive German, I began to get accustomed to German language.
Even now, after living abroad for over a month, I am still getting over the fact that my home is now Vienna!!!! And not simply somewhere in Vienna, but 15 minutes walking from Erste Bezirk (First District) which is the heart of the city! Vienna is astonishing, very clean, and beautiful while managing to remain extremely diverse and multi-cultural (as it is in the heart of Europe). So far I have enjoyed going to Operas, Theatres, and the Ballet on weekdays and have enjoyed the many bars and nightclubs on weekends.  During my second week I was able to go to the TU Ball in Hoffburg Palace. It was one of the most exciting experiences of my life. Just imagine dancing the waltz in the same room the Austrian Emperors danced!!!! This experience easily convinced me to want to attend more Balls during my program in Vienna. Lastly, one amazing thing about Austria is its central location. It is stunningly easy to travel almost anywhere in Europe by a short bus or train. I have taken advantage of this by traveling to Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia so far.
I am really happy I chose Vienna for my program and definitely would recommend it to everyone!


Anonymous Anonymous said...


My name is Erica (Elmhurst College student) and I have plans to study abroad this coming fall semester, also in Vienna, Austria! I am very excited to start preparing for studying abroad, learning more about the country and language.

It sounds like you are enjoying every minute in Germany. I would love to know of any suggestions you can give me in order to better prepare myself for studying in Vienna!

Also, I would be interested in knowing more about these "balls". How often do they occur? Are they exclusive/how do obtain an invite?

All the Best!

3:06 PM  
Anonymous Andriy Dvirnyy said...

Hey Erica,
You made a great decision by choosing Vienna. The most important thing I can suggest you is to prepare yourself mentally for the cultural change, so pay attention in the study abroad class ;) Don't be surprised that people don't smile on the streets. It is cultural. Looking through Austrian etiquette will help you. That way you will know what you should and should not do, or say.
Balls occur in Vienna regularly, so it is an easy task to attend them, if you go through IES Vienna than they will inform you about every detail regarding balls. They, also have special discounts for IES students (25 Euros) regular price is 75 Euros.
If you have any further questions please ask me. I will be happy to help.


2:22 PM  
Anonymous Katie Kasper said...

Vienna sounds so lovely! I'm studying abroad in Freiburg, Germany next fall! I'm minoring in German, but I can definitely relate to your worries about knowing the language. Have you experienced any culture shock so far?

-Katie Kasper

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Katie Kasper said...

Hey! I have another did you go about choosing your classes? Hope you're still having an awesome time!

-Katie Kasper

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Andriy Dvirnyy said...

Hey Katie,
To be honest, I did not experienced any culture shock ( I believe it has to do with the fact that I was born and grew up in Europe). But I am afraid that I will experience a huge culture shock when I will come back to the US. Because I enjoy Europe so much!
Selecting my class schedule abroad was pretty easy because I am majoring in Political Science, so I just selected the courses in my field of study, and went to consult with my adviser to make sure that they would count towards my degree.

7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for the response, I am very excited to study abroad in Vienna. I have been getting a lot of great advice from some other students who have also studied there. I definitely plan on looking into attending the balls through IES.

Also wondering if you have any tips on speaking German. I do not know the language right now but plan on doing some extensive preparation this summer before going to Vienna in the fall. Do you have any suggestions on how to go about learning the German language?


3:13 PM  
Anonymous Andriy said...

I would suggest you not to stress out about the language to much. They put a lot of emphasis in Vienna program on learning German, and they doing a really good job. However, my advise to you would be to learn simple words, such as: Please, Thank You, Good morning, and some basic direction questions.... That will help you a lot in the beginning! Also, IES Vienna has a Language Buddy program, which is very useful. I met my first Austrian friends through it, and you can practice some German with them. However, if you are planing to study intensively this Summer than I would suggest you to start from basic vocabulary and sentence structure.

4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I will be certain to learn some basic words/sentences before arriving in Vienna. Also I was wondering what your perspective would be on the housing options that IES offers while in Austria? What you recommend or if you know of any pros/cons of each?

I am going to be deciding on my choice soon!

BTW thanks so much for making the effort to respond to my comments, it has been quite helpful.

All the Best,

2:42 PM  
Anonymous Andriy said...

No problem, I am glad that I can at least make things a little bit clearer for you. That way it will be easier for you to adjust.
Well, I personally wanted and actually applied for "Home-stay", since I was thinking that it will be the best way to study German, but I did not get it because it is so limited. Only 2 people out of 107 got home-stay. So, I was placed in "City Apartments", and to be honest I LOVE IT!!!. The apartment is HUGE (the name of the apartment is Dürergasse) and only 15 minutes walking distance from the Heart of the City. Plus, we became a really good friends with my roommates. It is 5 of us in the apartment, but we have enough space. So I would definitely suggest Apartments.
If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to ask.

2:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So I know this is quite old and you probably can't help but I thought this was worth a shot! Where can girls go to buy a dress in Vienna for a ball? I would really like to attend one, but not sure where to even start to find a dress in Vienna! Thanks :)

2:49 PM  

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