Starting My Semester in Vienna

Hi! My name is Ava Groll and I’m a current senior at the University of Pittsburgh. I study Finance and Business Information Systems while also planning to obtain a duel-minor in Economics and Legal Studies. After college, I look forward to pursuing a possible IT-related career at a large corporation, preferably in the Boston or DC area.

This semester I’m an exchange student at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. I chose this particular program primarily due to the amazing offering of classes, presence of international classmates, and central location in Europe. Through my search, I found that many of the courses are able to fulfill the remaining requirements left for my degree; additionally, I loved that such a diverse student body would allow me to make connections from all over.

My goal for this program is to become more comfortable and confident in unfamiliar situations. I look forward to pushing myself outside of my comfort zone in order to pursue opportunities that may be challenging or intimidating — little things, like ordering in German restaurants or going into non-English speaking shops, have re-enforced my ability to tackle things that I would stray away from otherwise. I think this experience will teach me a lot about myself and hopefully provide insightful direction toward steps I’d like to take next.

I’ve only had a Pre-Semester German class so far — actual classes don’t start until October 1st. I have discovered that German is much harder than I thought (and not pronounced remotely similar to French) but I’ve definitely taken away some useful words & phrases for the future. The host institution is a lot smaller than Pitt, so most classes seem to have a personal, more 1-on-1 feel.

I live in the 9th District, prior home of Sigmund Freud and an area that contains long, broad streets with late 19th-century style buildings. My apartment is right along the main street (so a little noisy at times) but I love being right in the middle of everything. While staying in an off-campus, non-dorm living situation has certainly been an adjustment, I’m learning how to get back into a routine that makes my days a lot easier. Being in close proximity to the university means I’ve also been able to spend quite a lot of time walking and exploring the different districts outside of my own.

I can’t wait to start classes in a few weeks. Fingers crossed for a good semester!