A Day in my Life
My exchange stopped feeling like a vacation once I got myself into a somewhat consistent schedule. Now it feels like real life, and sometimes I forget I’ve known anything else but this. From easily knowing which platform to go to and which train to take, to typing in the number code and unlocking the house with my key, it’s easy to feel at home here. I sometimes forget it hasn’t been like this my whole life. My exchange just recently reached its halfway point, and therefore I figured it would maybe be interesting to give some insight on a typical weekday in my exchange life.
At the beginning of the school year, my goal was to wake up at 6:00 every morning, like I did every school day in the US for the past 5+ years. However, I’ve discovered the “Snooze” button, which I’d never experienced since my mom was always the one who woke me up, never an alarm. Therefore I’ve been recently waking up closer to 6:40, then scrambling to get dressed, put on makeup, and eat breakfast by 7.
Sometimes my host mom or host dad drives me and my host brothers to school on their way to work, but normally I walk about a half kilometer (8 minutes) to the bus stop, where I then take a 25 minute bus ride to school (no convenient yellow school buses here, only general city buses).
(For the basics on my classes and school, feel free to refer back to my “School in Austria” blog post)
During school I participate in the classes I can, like Art, Psychology, English, Sport…etc. In the classes I simply can’t participate in such as 2nd year Latin, I focus on independently studying German.
On Tuesdays, I get out of school at 5:25. However, on every other day of the week I get out at 12:25. On these days, I get on a bus to the train station right after school, then take a train from the Korneuburg train station to Vienna which takes 30 minutes more or less, depending on where in Vienna I want to go.
Every day in Vienna I do something different. Usually I meet up with a friend, either an Austrian friend or another exchange student. Sometimes we’ll go shopping on Mariahilferstraße (Austria’s largest shopping street) or, on bad weather days, in SCS, Austria’s largest mall. Sometimes we’ll visit a museum, since there are dozens of museums in Vienna and most are free if you’re a student under 19. It’s also always nice to just go on a walk in a random part of Vienna and see what you find. I actually made a sort of “game” out of this that I really like to play, sometimes even alone. I’ll get on an underground train, get off at a stop I’ve never gotten off at, then take a tram for a bit, and I’ll find myself lost in Vienna, but the best kind of lost. It’s these obscure locations which have zero tourists. It’s these places where you find the little vintage shops and the cozy coffee shops. For food, I often get a Kebab or Dürüm, which is cheap but delicious Turkish food that you can basically find on every street no matter where you are in Vienna.
No matter what my adventure of the day is, I have to leave Vienna between 6 and 6:30 in order to make the last bus from the Korneuburg train station to home. The bus takes about 20 minutes, then I have to walk for 8 minutes up the hill to my house. I arrive home at 7:30. Once at home, I drink a chai tea with my host mom and talk with her about my day to the best of my ability in German. Sometimes I’ll have a light dinner of bread with my host family. Then we normally watch something on TV together whether it be a movie, TV show, or the news.
Every night unfailingly before I go to bed I write in my journal. I haven’t skipped a day yet, it’s become automatic. I’ve already filled 2 diaries, and I’m halfway through my third. It’s a relaxing way to wind down before bed and really take in and think about my day. The way I see it, this is the most beneficial, significant year of my life so far. Every day I’m experiencing new things and making new memories, and I don’t want to forget anything. A day I don’t write anything is a day that could easily slip from my memory. Even if I think back on the day and I can’t think of anything specific, I still write. Something extraordinary happens every day, whether you realize it or not. Maybe it’s not special at the time, but 10 years later the smells you described or the casual conversation you wrote about might mean the world to you. Keeping a daily journal has been nothing but beneficial for me, and I know it will keep giving back to me for years. I hope to be able to read the day-by-day account of my exchange year in 5, 10, 20+ years.
Every night I go to bed at a time that my mother would absolutely not approve of (sorry, Mom) simply because I don’t have anyone nagging me to go to bed at a normal time. I’m still working on self-discipline.
If you have any questions about my exchange, let me know by commenting below or messaging me on any social media… I’m thinking about doing a Q&A sometime soon!