The effort definitely pays off!

When I went to Vienna on my year abroad I had already been there once on a school exchange, and this is why I was so keen on going again. It is an amazing city, which not only looks great, but where things seem to just work! Even the commute to work was enjoyable - taking the efficient Vienna 2underground system to the central district, where you are surrounded by incredible architecture and sights.

Even before I came to uni I knew I wanted to do a year abroad, so I was happy to have it as part of my course. But it was not until it got down to the real details that I considered exactly what it involved. It is definitely a big commitment to go abroad and live in a new place for a whole year; however in my mind the effort definitely pays off.

Vienna also has more to offer than the amazing city centre, as you can get to the countryside or the river in just 15 minutes by taking an underground train. This provides plenty of opportunities for going walking, visiting a Heuriger (local wine maker), or having a BBQ or picnic by the Danube river.

Living in halls was also great fun and a really good way of meeting people, but what I particularly enjoyed was being involved with the Student TV station at Vienna uni - my halls were just for international students, but the Student TV station had Austrians as well as a mix of other nationalities and this was a great opportunity to practice my German and meet new people. I was before and still am involved with RU:ON TV here at Reading, but it is definitely worth trying to find a sport or activity where you can find a group/team, as you can then go beyond ERASMUS and experience another aspect of student life in the country.

After coming back from my year abroad, I have already talked about my experiences in a job interview (where I got the job!) and am telling as many students as possible that they should be going on a year abroad too! Reading supports you throughout the process and you will meet so many people both from the UK and other countries who are doing the same thing. I think it is a fantastic opportunity - it is really good fun, but also teaches you invaluable skills, so just go for it!

Simon Hyslop, BA German and Management Studies

Vienna (Austria)

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