Student Blog

Overseas Exchange Student Report:The Charms of Living in Vienna

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Hello, this is Manari Shimamura, a member of SPA, and a third year of APS student who is currently studying abroad for a year this spring through the exchange program.
This time, I will share my experience about the musical city of Vienna, where I am living half of the year. Also, I'll upload related study abroadarticles, so please check it later!!


Capital of Austria, German-speaking country.
This city is known famous for music, so many Japanese music university students are here.

1, Beautiful cityscape

I was impressed by the beautiful city, buildings, and decorations when I first arrived here. I took the train and subway from the Vienna International Airport to the city center of Vienna, and I will never forget the sight when I came out of the underground. The city scape is so different from Japan, so I always took pictures of any buildings, people, billboards, and foods during the first month. The historical buildings such as churches, royal palaces, and museums are of course beautiful, but many of the ordinary residences and offices are as old and beautiful as these buildings. Those old buildings have tiny elevators that fit only one or two people so it is little bit scary. Otherwise, outside of the city center, there are crowded modern and unique buildings.

2, Artistic city

People call Vienna the city of music. Many orchestras exist, including the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and these concerts are held daily at the Vienna Musikverein. People who become a Musikverein members can buy discount tickets , so I joined and went to concerts many times. In addition, there are many opera houses and theaters, so people can see the concert and go on guided tours.

3, Multiculturalism

Vienna is a very open-minded place for other cultures, probably because it is the capital. Asian restaurants are common in the city, and recently, I had Persian and Vietnamese food. Conversely, there are not many Austrian restaurants. When I walk around, I can hear and see some languages and everyone has a different look, so I cannot guess where anyone comes from; It is interesting and I can learn new cultures.

4, Easy access to neighboring countries

Austria is a Central European country bordered by eight countries, including Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. Especially, the Slovakian capital city, Bratislava, is so close to Vienna; it takes about one hour and 8 Euro by train, so people go there for one-day trips. Also, people can easily to go Czech or Hungary,which areabout 4 hours by train or bus. In Europe, there are many cheap transportation methods, such asbuses, trains, and airplanes, so travelers can go travel very easily. Moreover, people can cross the border without any formalities between EU countries,so they can go to other countries like going to other cities. While there are some similarities between the countries, there are also some differences in architecture, culture, currency, language, and cost of living, making it fun to look for these points.

Above: View from Prague Castle in Czech Republic, Buta Castle in Hungary
Bottom: Gondola in Venice, Italy; Bratislava Castle, Slovakia
5, The most livable city in the world

Vienna ranked first in The Economist magazine’s ranking of the most livable cities in 2022. Actually, there are great culture and arts, and then transportation is so easy to use that I lived a half a year here . In most of the country doesn’t drink tap water, but in Vienna, people can drink tap water directly. And there are parks all over the city that are full of greenery.
The security is not as good as in Japan, but I think it is much better than in other countries. Even at night, it is not a problem to be alone on a brightly lit street. I have never heard of anyone being pickpocketed in Vienna(in my personal experiece). However, when I go to restaurants, I always take all my luggage when I leave my seat, and I keep my valuables in the back of my bag and keep my hands on my bag at all times.
Moreover,Austria is German speaking country, but most of Viennese people can speak English, so it is very helpful for foreign people. Also, restaurants and grocery stores have BIO products andvegan foods, so they are more diversified in terms of food than Japan.

little difficult to do points

High prices

The country has always been expensive, but due to the invasion of Ukraine, prices are rising day by day. Eating out is very expensive, so basically I cook for myself every day.

Stores are not open on Sundays

On Sunday, the shops are all closed without restaurants and souvenirs shop. So, if I forget to go shop before Sunday, I always regret it. In addition, be careful about the times to go shopping, as most stores are not open 24 hours a day like Japanese convenience stores.

Occasional demonstrations occur

The Ringstraße, a street that circles the center of the city,occasionally holds demonstrations on weekends. When this happens, the trams that run though the streets are disrupted. Once I was late for concert because of this, and I. had to sit outside the venue and listen to the next song until it started. When I first arrived, there were often demonstrations against mandatory vaccinations and demonstrations against the war, but these seem to have decreased recently. Sometimes, there are attractive events such as PRIDE walks and marathons, and it is also a fun street where horse-drawn carriages pass by some events are held.

No air conditioning

The biggest problem I have felt as the seasons change is the lack of air conditioning. Most houses don’t have it, and have only heaters in the rooms. This year, I cannot stay in my room during the daytime because of the heat wave in Europe. However, since it is not a drenching heat, it is surprisingly cool in the shade outside. Therefore, on hot days I am gradually imitating the European style of cooling off in the summer, such as going to parks and rivers, eating gelato, and enjoying food on terraces.

Well, this time I shared with you about life in Vienna. To be honest, six months have passed and I am finally getting used to it. I was anxious before I came here of course, and there were also many worries, such as not being able to get the Green Pass that proves vaccination, and the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine.
However, here are many things that I can feel and learn firsthand, and everyday fresh and new. I will continue to write various articles!!! Bis bald!!!!

Manari Shimamura
Manari Shimamura

Hello, I am Manari Shimamura (Graduated in March 2024). I love to travel and last year I visited 15 countries in Europe. This year, I will be traveling around Asia and Japan. APU and Beppu are full of interesting things to do! I will share with you the charms of APU and Beppu through articles!

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