Time for the long awaited Study Tour with my Urban Studies Core Course!
For those of you who don’t know, DIS is a unique study abroad program in the fact that travel is integrated into the academics of the program. In addition to core course week (note my previous blog about Hamburg), you also travel for a week in March with your core class. My urban studies class has been preparing for this trip for awhile, often alluding to Vienna and Budapest during lectures. And now it was finally time to go!
First Stop: Vienna, Austria
We spent a good two and a half days in Vienna exploring the city both old and new, visiting new developments as well as hearing from a community organization about gentrification in the city. We were pretty busy but fortunately since we are urban studies, all of our academics were seeing the city. I gotta hand it to DIS, they kept us always on the go but also treated us so well. Especially to a lot of schnitzel & strudel!
After our short flight and settling into our hotel, we had a great introduction of the city through a walking tour of the center of Vienna. Our tour guide, Wolfgang, was quite the character sharing fun stories, some true while other tall tales, along the way. It was a great way to get out bearings while also learning about the architecture and history of the city. I never knew that Vienna actually has a large underground component! Many of the buildings to this day have 3 to 7 floors underground that people used to live in during the medieval times. At one time, you could even walk the whole length of the city underground as they were all connected! This is not the case anymore, but we did get to check out one of the past living quarters underground (if you can even call it that).
On Sunday, we checked out Aspern Sdestadt, a construction site for the “smart city of the future”. We toured multiple housing sites, all of which had their own character and interesting design qualities. As a class we obviously had to test all the fun playgrounds that were scattered around the site.
In our free time, Nicole and I had a great time walking around the museum quarters and visited the Belvedere palace and gardens. At night we met up with Rebecca and Grace for a fun night at the Wurstelprater amusement park and got great views of the city on the famous Riesenrad (ferris wheel) constructed in 1897. It was actually my first time on a ferris wheel! Afterwards we tried the acclaimed Viennese cheese stuffed sausage. 10/10 would recommend!
Monday, we wrapped up our stay with a tour of an area threatened by gentrification. I think this was the highlight of my academic schedule on this trip as it was interesting to learn about the issues from community members.
It was raining most of our time there, so it was a welcome treat to have a sauna at our hotel. Nicole and I took full advantage! We also learned from one of our guides that it is quite the trend to have in people’s homes in Vienna. Not going to lie, pretty jealous…
It was sad to say goodbye after such a short time, but we were all excited for the next adventure. Now for a train ride from Vienna to Budapest!