Greetings from Vienna Austria!
If I would describe Vienna in three words, I would say lively, safe and beautiful. Vienna is the most populated city in Austria, and it has a long history, and therefore plenty of different cultural gems are located there. From Hofburgs castle to Beldevere, the history and the beauty of the city seems to always amaze its visitors. The architecture is typically Baroque styled and it’s taking influence from the Austrian empire times. The people are generally polite, and direct, but be prepared to notice that people are not the best in good customer service when working (They are rude compared to Finland! At least in my opinion :D). Customer service seems to be paid to be fast and efficient, not to be polite.
So, what is it like to study in the sanctuary of culture? I study in FH Wien der WKW, which is located in the 9th district of Vienna. My days typically consist of free mornings and evening lectures, which is very different from what I’ve been used to in Finland. I’ve studied event management, business ethics, German language, public relations, and crisis management, so my studies have been mostly management-based studies. All in all, the study culture is very similar to Finland. Even though many teachers warned that the hierarchy between the students and professors is noticeable and very strict, not once has there been a situation where a professor didn’t want us to use their first name when stating them. And they like to teach by provoking conversation instead of making the students just sit and listen to them. Therefore, there has not been a big culture shock in this regard. The studies have been going well all in all.
Five months is a long time to do just schoolwork, right? So, about the free time:
During the winter months, I went to experience the national sport of Austria: skiing! Altogether I skied 5 times in the Alps and enjoyed every second of it! Once the skiing season started to come close to an end and when the weather was not so nice, I went to different museums, art exhibitions, celebrated with the other Erasmus students, and enjoyed the famous Viennese cafe culture. During the beautiful spring, I hiked also in the surroundings of Vienna.
During my time in Austria, I traveled inside the Europe and experienced other different cultures as well. I went to Hungary, Slovenia, Italy and Czech Republic. And of course, saw Austria inside and outside of Vienna.
These five months here have been at the same time the longest and the shortest five months of my life. In these five months, I have learned so much about different cultures, and how to adapt to a different culture, but also, I have learned a lot about myself. To name a few, my confidence has increased, my presenting skills have improved, and I’ve become more independent. All of these experiences, good and bad, I will utilize later in life, both professionally and personally. It is not easy to go to an exchange, but it is 100% worth it, but only if you step out of your comfort zone!
I wish you all the best!
Best regards, Emma