Ein Mann hält ein Papierflugzeug aus einer Weltkarte in die Höhe

... in Vienna, Austria

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Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna, Austria

In this interview, we have the pleasure of featuring Juliana Renee Bentley-Krest, an incoming exchange student from the University of Central Florida. She shares details on cultural connections, academics, navigating Vienna, and the art of forming friendships and networks.

How did your exchange experience at WU Vienna enhance your understanding and appreciation of Austrian culture? What advice do you have for future students looking to immerse themselves culturally?

  • I’ve spent most of my life living in the United States and I’m thankful that over the years I’ve had the privilege of traveling through Europe. The multiple experiences I was exposed to such as museums, concerts, and cathedrals made me realize how significant the preservation of Austria's history and culture is to its citizens. I wasn’t prepared for the bold and straightforwardness of the Austrian people, but I came to appreciate the love they had for their traditions and customs.

  • Here is one advice for exchange students that are looking to immerse themselves culturally: Expose yourselves to new places and experiences that put you out of your comfort zone. You never know you might stumble across the most beautiful of places. 

Can you share some highlights of your academic journey at WU Vienna? How did the university's environment contribute to your personal and professional growth?

  • One significant highlight was taking sustainability courses. It allowed me to explore ways to positively impact the environment and how to motivate others to do so as well. My group projects went smooth, thanks to everyone's dedication for good grades. The supportive atmosphere really motivated me to succeed academically.

  • Professionally, I gained insights into conducting effective group work, interacting across diverse backgrounds, and fostering positive learning environments.

What tips do you have for navigating daily life in Vienna as an international student? Any hidden gems or local spots you discovered that future students shouldn't miss?

  • Moving to a foreign country can be overwhelming but lucky for you Vienna's public transportation is one of the best in the world. At first, it can feel a bit unusual trying to navigate the "U-Bahn" and other forms of transportation. Apple Maps really helped me when I first started: It really goes into to detail on how to find different train lines and it’ll reroute you if you get lost.

  • While you’re in Vienna, take the time to try the street food. There are stands where you can try Turkish cuisine or stick to authentic Austrian food. One of my favorite spots is a Greek restaurant called Mesze near Campus WU. It was my roommate’s and my favorite spot for dinner. Be sure to check that out!  

How did you go about building a social network during your time in Vienna? Any insights into making meaningful connections with both locals and fellow international students?

  • The thing that helped me the most with my social network in Vienna is the WU Orientation & Cultural program. This program was an amazing experience to learn about the culture of Austria and it helped me make so many new friends from all over the world. We were in groups of 20 or more students from all different schools. We went on two big trips to surrounding cities of Vienna, went to museums, tried new food, and did fun activities that allowed us all to bond.

  • My top advice for building connections is to attend all events organized by student groups or WU; they offer multiple opportunities for students to get to know each other

Could you share one or two standout moments or experiences that defined your time in Vienna? How did these moments contribute to your overall exchange adventure?

  • Vienna holds a special place in my heart. Every time my roommate Kaylee and I flew back to Vienna from a nearby country during our study abroad, we would exchange smiles and express how happy we were to have chosen Vienna. Over time, it transformed into a feeling of excitement to be back home in Vienna after weekend trips outside Austria. In that moment, I realized a part of my heart will always belong to this city, making it more than just a place to stay; it's a second home.

WU (Vienna University of Economics and Business)
  • Location: Vienna, Austria

  • Population of Vienna: ca. 2.002.821

  • Number of students: ca. 21.456

  • Accreditations: AACSB, AMBA, EQUIS

  • Exchange level: Bachelor, Master, Doctorate

You study at a WU partner university and plan to spend your exchange at our university? Click here to learn more about Vienna and spending an exchange semester at WU.