Marie - University of Vienna

B Science
Semester 1, 2019
Exchange has been a LIFE highlight. Why aren't you there yet?

Academic experience

I did a mix of third year science courses and random humanities electives. Uni Wien is quite decentralised and a little disorganised, as a result the professors are always your first port of call! This also means your courses can be very different based entirely on who your professor is. Don't use the ECTS as an indicator of difficulty (it's not) and be careful about how many exam only courses you do - although you'd be able to travel more at the start and pick up/drop classes whenever (literally till the exams), you only have one chance to sit the exam and some of the professors are really strict about it! (others are major sweethearts <3) 
Also be mindful of seminars and proseminars - in the arts they require you to write a thesis length paper by the end which can be hard to balance.

Personal experience

This is going to sound cliché, I'm repeating what everyone is saying but exchange is brilliant. I met friends that have become family, learnt so much about myself and what I want, and explored some fantastic places around the world. What you need to do: travel EVERY weekend at least until easter break (or mid-sem break), I promise you'll have time to explore Vienna when the money runs out and exams are closing in. Organise your timetable so that you have Fridays (and maybe Mondays) off - this is very easy as most courses do classes from Tuesday to Thursday and most (actually all) courses have only one contact session a week. I didn't pick up German because I'm a bit of a cheapskate and couldn't shell out for the evening/morning classes but save up and DO IT - it was my one regret; that I didn't embrace the language of the city that I grew to love so much.


Uni Wien has no on-campus accommodation but there are loads of student dorms or private accommodation to stay in. I stayed in Oe-AD's Tigergasse accommodation and then STUWO's Strudlhofgasse accommodation. I preferred STUWO because it was a little more social; there was a communal kitchen (for the floor), gym and study/lounge space. The windows are huge and although you share a bathroom your actual bedroom and space is entirely yours and entirely private. The location was brilliant (close to uni and cafes) and it was a bit cheaper too. Tigergasse is fantastic if you want more of an apartment feel and are willing to roll the dice on roommates. The space at Tigergasse made it way easier to entertain and cooking healthily was loads easier to with your own kitchen but the lounge space was amazing for having people over (plus there was a TV so we used it to stream Game of Thrones last season - we won't get into that disappointment) 
Ask for your deposit to be returned in cash, you'll save money instead of converting it.
Rough perspectives: Oe-AD: more non-EU exchange students because it has a good english website. A little bit more expensive but also more private. No gyms but rooms are modern (Westbanhof is the shopping area, a little skeezy at night in the winter though but close to all the restaurants), Molk is near prater and super far away from everything. Have a look at the districts of Vienna and their reputations and check on google maps the distances to uni via tram and train before booking.


Okay so. I had a strict budget of $500/week all inclusive; rent, food and all travel expenses for the Friday to Sunday weekends. I ate in a lot or did group dinners (awesome way to eat a little healthier and save money), did air bnbs with big groups to make travel cheaper, travelled by night bus/train, and had an excel spreadsheet to monitor spending (let me know if you'd like it! I'm very proud). 
Rent costed roughly $200/week. Food is pretty affordable (Hofer and Pennymarkt are the cheapest groceries, Bila and Spar's a little premium). Eating out can get quite pricey. Mozart's is FANTASTIC for really authentic food and atmosphere for a really affordable price, Centimetre is awesome if you've got a big group of people with you - you can buy The Sword which is 6 chicken schnitzels and 6 veal steaks skewered by a sword and then a bucket of chicken wings, chips and mince/chilli. Can definitely feed 10+ (with many hungry guys too). Otherwise noodles or a donner kebab is a stunning 3 euros/$5 - and you won't find better post drink food. 
(Side note: please do yourself a favour and eat some of the Viennese pastries. If there is one thing they DO it's pastries, topfenstrudel was my favourite) 
In terms of transport, buy the OBB youth card and the semester long student pass (avoid the stress and the 100 euro fine).
For easter break and summer or times when you're travelling full time I'd recommend budgeting for $750 a week as a much more realistic goal because prices are a bit higher.


Leaving! Or sorting out my uni program. I had to do a couple changes in courses and also came on my last semester which was quite stressful as I wanted to make sure I graduated in time! It was just a matter of talking to the professors and explaining the situation. 
In terms of the challenge of leaving? I'm still working through that :))

Professional Development

The courses I ended up doing were absolutely brilliant. I did a psychology class that built on a neural physiology course I did by focussing on the neurology associated with stress. It was an awesome way to integrate information in a context I'm a little more unfamiliar with. In general, the opportunity to learn things associated with my degree from a different perspective was a real privilege.


Just one thing? Then it will have to be broad. The people!!

Top tips

Ok I gave a fair bit of advice already but really take advantage of your time there! Make a list of the places nearby you want to visit but also go with the flow. We decided to go to Berlin the night before we left, it's fun!!