Student blog of the Stanford University Urban Studies Department

Little victories

Lesson One: Austria is beautiful, its motorists kind

On Thursday morning I took Vienna’s U4 subway line to the very last stop, walked out of the station, and stood by the highway with my thumb out. Six hours and two rides with some very nice people later I was at my high school friend Peter’s house in a village in the mountains near the city of Innsbruck. The first person to pick me up was an immigrant from Chechnya driving with his two kids to visit his mother in Salzburg. It was a funny time talking because we were both speaking German, neither one of us very well, and so every so often his 9-ish year old son, who I assume had lived there for a few years and so was fluent, had to supply a word or explain something when we had completely not understood each other. Something we definitely agreed on, though, is that German is hard.


View from my friend Peter’s home near Innsbruck


Rest stop in between rides. A lot of people stopped or even walked up to me to ask where I needed to go, but unfortunately most of them were headed in the opposite direction as me. Found a ride in the end though!

Lesson Two: Research takes a long time

One thing I have learned from this experience is that research in the real world takes a lot longer than the research you do for that paper that’s due in 12 hours and you haven’t started yet. It’s nice to realize, though, that I don’t mind taking the time to do this kind of research because I find the topic so interesting- but it does make me wish I had more than 2 months to spend here in Vienna. However I mention this because we finished the questionnaire on people’s transportation habits and use of Citybike Vienna! (see below) We’ve gotten a large amount of responses in just a few days, so I am very excited. Florian Lorenz (my research supervisor) and I developed an English version and a German version, which included a lot of translation headaches, especially for Florian, and made me appreciate what a hard skill translation is. Now that the questionnaire has been released, I am going to be focusing on interviewing and talking to as many people as possible about their views on transportation and Citybike. Check back in for more updates!

Part of the finished questionnaire (German version)

Part of the finished questionnaire (German version)


The youth center which Peter and other young people in the village built up together, a really cool communal space



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