My First Impressions of Arriving in Vienna to Study at CEU

November 12, 2021

by Gabrielle Hudson Longo, Alumni Scholarship Recipient and MS student in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy

After a whirlwind summer filled with the obligatory administrative and logistical groundwork necessary to pursue a degree in a different country, finally arriving in Vienna for the start of this new adventure felt almost surreal. Emerging from the central train station into the pleasant balminess of a sunny late summer day, I was greeted by a city teeming with energy and I knew I had made the right decision.

Vienna has a little something for everyone. It is a mix of stately buildings and refined avenues but simultaneously offers abundant green spaces that can make you forget you are living in a bustling European capital city. It combines leisurely café culture with an exuberant nightlife scene, melds the traditional with the avant-garde, is at once expansive and intimate in scale, and encompasses 23 districts each with personalities so distinct that there is never a shortage of things to do and explore. In short, the perfect student city.

As a student in the Environmental Science and Policy Department, it is no surprise that I spent much of my time (outside of the classroom) drawn to Vienna’s abundant green spaces and outdoor activities. Along with other members of my program, we soaked up the last of the summer swimming in the Danube, hiking between traditional wineries in the Vienna Woods, and picnicking in city parks.

CEU is a similar mix of opposites as Vienna itself. It is intimate enough that students are largely on a first name basis with professors and small class sizes empower students to engage hands-on with topics, while at the same time the university offers a vast number of engagement activities as diverse as the student body itself. Although the demands of rigorous coursework keeps me busy, I look forward to continuing to immerse myself if the unique culture of CEU and Vienna itself over the course of the remainder of my program.