While in Graz, my peers and I lived in a hotel by the name of Hotel Das Weitzer. The location of this hotel was close to the city center and we were close to two different tram stops which was very convenient for transportation. The city center was where we could find many convenience and clothing stores, restaurants, and other attractions such as a great viewpoint of the city. A fun fact about the hotel that our program director emphasized: Arnold Schwarzenegger has stayed in this hotel before when visiting Graz.
Overall, the hotel was a very pleasant stay. We had access to an expansive traditional Austrian breakfast buffet each morning (which we realized only much later was a great privilege). I personally grew to love the muesli and multivitamin juice offered but the hotel also set out different assortments of breads, pastries, cheeses, meats, and fruits. Our hotel rooms were for two people, my roommate(a classmate on the program) and I. We also had free and working wi-fi, a laundromat located nearby, and rooms of good sizing. Although we had no microwave in the rooms, we did have a fridge and were able to use the microwave in the kitchen upon request to the staff. Our rooms were also cleaned upon request and we had access to a rooftop sauna and gym which were very nice amenities.
I didn’t have many challenges at Hotel Das Weitzer, except for having to lug large bags of clothes to the laundromat every couple of weeks. While living in Graz, we foreigners were welcomed in most places and there weren’t many challenges with language. We learned a couple phrases in Austrian German in order to be able to get around independently. With the help of our Austrian contact, Julie, we became connoisseurs of the tram system, modified our definitions of “walking distance”, learned what the convenience stores were called, and discovered which places to get gelato from.
On our program, we also visited Salzburg, Vienna, and finally Maribor, Slovenia. Our accommodations in those cities were similar. Salzburg seemed to be a smaller city and had more of a historic vibe than Graz. In Vienna, I was reminded more of a major metropolitan city and learned to use the underground railway system there. In both places we again stayed in hotels. In Maribor, we stayed in a hotel styled as student dormitory housing. Maribor was the smallest city of them all and we did not use as much public transportation there. While in Slovenia, we learned some Slovenian phrases and absorbed some of their culture as well. With the help of our program director and our contacts in Austria and Slovenia, I was able to overcome any challenges living abroad and enjoy my time!