I just completed my second week in Austria. I got back from my fun excursions during our free weekend with some of my peers. We traveled to other parts of Austria outside of Graz, such as day trips to Admont in the countryside to see the largest monastery library in the world, as well as going to a lake in Klagenfurt.
Back in Graz, I returned to Hotel das Weitzer, which is a very nice hotel in a great central location. It is close to two tram stops that we use to get to the university every day. It also is within walking distance to numerous restaurants with outdoor seating in the popular location called the “Bermuda triangle.” We are also close to the main Congress square and the famous Bell Tower and fortress of Graz. I have one roommate, who I met previously in my science classes at Pitt as well as through Ballet Club. All 14 of us Pitt students on the Comparative Healthcare in Graz program have our hotel rooms in the same hallway, and we gather everyone to meet in the lobby before our group excursions. Our new home is included and organized by the program, so our professor helped us with public transportation from the airport to the hotel, where we took the train and a tram.
We also have hotels for our weekend trips to Salzburg and Vienna, and will also have a different hotel for our final week of the program in Slovenia.
A challenge living in Austria is the language barrier at times. Most of us do not know German, so it is challenging to communicate with servers at restaurants with fewer tourists, such as when we were in the countryside. But, we have been actively learning introductory words along the way and have been able to use gestures to communicate effectively and politely.
I have loved every day spent in Austria so far, and have been experiencing the culture and using the time to the fullest with our packed schedule of excursions. I love that Graz is a peaceful and quiet city with alot of nature. The city park is grand and is a perfect location for our group to do yoga every Tuesday. I really enjoyed our available weekend to choose our own activities and travels. I went to Eggenberg Palace in Graz, which was very beautiful and had many peacocks roaming around freely in the gardens. I also enjoyed the museums and gorgeous library in Admont, as well as exploring the little village in the countryside. Most of us went together for a day trip to Klagenfurt and its lake, where it was fun to try homemade breads and pastries and listen to traditional Austrian music. We also have become experts using a variety of public transportation here in Austria, such as trains, trams, and buses. I enjoy the train rides, with peaceful and scenic views of the mountains.
I look forward to our trip to Vienna this weekend, as well as my last 2 weeks in Graz!