In this month’s issue of Mohos Abroad, we are featuring class of 2019’s Healey Suto who is currently studying abroad in Vienna, Austria. I am super excited to share her experience with you all!
Healey Suto ‘19
Music major and Art History minor
Q. How did you find/choose this program?
I was looking for music programs, of which I found out there are not many in Europe. Once I found the IES Vienna program, I did some research and it sounded like such an amazing program in a beautiful place that I knew I had to go.
Q. How does it fit with your academic plans?
I am almost done with my major and minor, so I didn’t need any credits from abroad, but I am continuously looking to learn as much as I can musically and otherwise. I’ve taken this semester to do a more focused study on vocal performance, which has always been one of many things I study. I’ve been taking lessons and performance workshops and learning a lot and generally improving my vocal technique and performance.
Q. What did you know about Vienna before arriving? How has that perspective changed?
I knew almost nothing. A pre-departure orientation they asked us to draw out what we knew of the city and I drew the danube river, a square for my apartment in an arbitrary location, and a square for the grocery store. I knew that Mozart and Beethoven and many famous composers spent time in Vienna and that it was and still is a center of classical music.
Q. Was/is it difficult to make friends abroad?
I didn’t have too much trouble- I lucked out and have nice roommates, and the music students are all really nice, and we all got to be friends quickly because we spend so much time together.
Q. What is your day to day like?
I get up pretty early, because most days I either have class at 9am or I teach at 8am because I am doing an education internship at an Austrian high school. Unlike at Mount Holyoke, I spend a lot of time in transit between places, on the U-bahn or on various trams around the city. I go to classes, voice lessons, coachings, and often I go home for lunch because it only takes me about 20 minutes to get home from where my classes are, and I don’t have any in the middle of the day. Some evenings I have Performance Workshop classes, concerts, etc. Most evenings though, I do my homework, make dinner, chat with my roommates, and try to get to bed early (much earlier than I do at Mount Holyoke)!
Q. Nightlife! What is the party scene like?
There is great nightlife in Vienna. There are many clubs and bars, of which I’ve only been to a few. The ones I have been to are very cool with good music, but the drinks are expensive and there is always at least a 10 Euro cover charge to get in.
Q. What is the fashion like abroad?
People told me this before I left and it seems to be true that a lot of people in central and eastern Europe wear more neutral colored, slightly more conservative clothing than we do in the US. But, it is also winter here, so I haven’t really seen what the warm weather fashion is like. Everyone is definitely well dressed, though, that’s for sure.
Q. Do you plan on/have you travelled to different cities while abroad so far?
I have! I’ve been to Halstatt and Salzburg, which are both in Austria; to Cesky Krumlov and Prague in the Czech Republic; to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia; and last weekend my roommate and I went to Venice, Italy! Next week is spring break, and I’m going to Santorini, Greece and Paris! I’m also taking two weeks in May after my program ends to travel more, but I’m not sure where I’m going yet. Travel is relatively easy and cheap around Europe, so it’s really nice to be able to take advantage of already being here.
Q. What has this experience taught you so far?
I’ve definitely become more independent over the past few months. I’ve learned to make my own food, which was big. I’m also really making an effort to learn to appreciate the moment and where I am at all times. Easier said than done, as anyone who spends their daily life somewhere incredibly beautiful will know (I’m looking at you, Mount Holyoke!)
Q. Would you recommend studying abroad to Mount Holyoke Students?
I absolutely would! I am so glad I decided to study abroad. Anyone who studies music in college will know that as amazing as it is to study what you’re passionate about, it’s easy to get bogged down. Being here has really made me rediscover everything I love about music and the weird, dynamic universe that is the classical music world of the 21st century. I’ve also grown personally in becoming more independent, as I mentioned, and I think that I will emerge from this experience more confident in myself and my abilities. This program is pushing me intellectually, musically, and socially, and I can’t wait to see who I am on the other side of it.