Music, Friends, and Memories! September 07, 2023

By (Vocal Performance, Pacific Lutheran University) - abroad from 01/23/2023 to 05/13/2023 with

IES Abroad: Vienna - Study Abroad With IES Abroad

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained such a large appreciation for the world as a whole. I fell in love with life in Vienna and the act of traveling to experience new places and cultures! I even hope to move back to Vienna one day for a career in opera, and hopefully for a Master's degree. The educational content I learned regarding classical music in Vienna was absolutely amazing, but the experience IES Abroad Vienna helped foster was even more irreplaceably wonderful.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

I really enjoyed studying within the IES organization as a whole. The Vienna faculty members are all absolutely wonderful people who care deeply for each and every one of their students. They foster an environment that encourages students to take risks while abroad in a safe and smart manner. Not only did I find mentors and rolemodels within amongst IES Vienna staff members, but I was able to form heartfelt friendships with them! In fact, I still keep vaguely in touch with my housing VSA (shoutout to Ava!!) and housing coordinator Holly through social medias. When I say the staff care about you, I mean it! Both Holly and Ava still check in on me and my performing adventures :). The education and culture associated with this program are wonderful, but the people are truly who make it an irreplaceable experience.


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

As long as you aren't being obviously irresponsible, as in always buying the most expensive tickets/items/foods, a student budget seemed to be quite livable.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Maybe 50-70 Euros a week?
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you are going to be cooking a majority of your own meals, don't buy a ton of perishables in bulk! I know in the U.S. we tend to buy a lot at once, but that is a different thing here! It is common to go to the grocery store to pick up just a couple items multiple times a week, so don't risk the longevity of your perishables (which have fewer preservatives in Austria) by buying in bulk like you may be used to.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? I had never taken courses on the German language.
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Take the risk! Use it in public! Many of the personnel I talked to, especially people who were running Würstelstands, really appreciated, helped and encouraged me to order in German. And sure enough, I slowly got better!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hotel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The people!!
  • The cultural exposure.
  • The educational opportunities.
* What could be improved?
  • Add a few more days to say our goodbyes (it was a quick and bittersweet goodbye).
  • Add more practice rooms facilities.
  • Add group outings to music-related performances (I only recall group sports outings).
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I now know how hard it can be to return to studying in the United States after having studied abroad. I have since learned that it is quite common for students to have a sad transitional period, especially if they really loved where they were staying, but that is something I mostly found out in the moment or on my own. It really is hard to come back, and I feel like a piece of my heart is still sitting on the U-bahn's U1 line in Vienna. Even though it was really hard to come back, I am so so so glad I went.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!