My name is Ilona, and I’m currently spending my exchange semester of my studies in International Business in Vienna, Austria and more in detail in FHWien der WKW. I chose tourism as my majoring path, but since this University of Applied Sciences is mainly focused on management and communications I took this opportunity to broaden my knowledge and studies towards marketing and other business courses such as Social-Media Marketing and Marketing Strategies & Decision-Making.
During my studies here, I have enjoyed getting to learn from different kinds of teachers. Vienna is a very multi-cultural city, and our partner university has chosen teachers from all over the world such as Canada, Australia and Germany. Especially in the degree of International Business, this aspect is a very interesting and important part of this degree.
The university also offers German language courses for different levels. Surrounded by your Erasmus family, English is pretty much the only language you’ll hear and because of that I personally think it’s good to know at least something also in the language of your destination country. So, I recommend taking advantage of the language courses. Needless to say, I have definitely learned and continue learning lots during all of my seven courses that I have chosen.
The school system is a bit different, and that is why I might have had time to travel so much during one period of time, but the next on the other hand might be a bit busier with group and individual assignments and exams. Luckily, I have found a good balance in this kind of schedule. One difference hasn’t stopped making me laugh a little throughout the semester, and that is how the classes end in Vienna (and also in other sides of the world I hear as well). Once the teacher has said the final words of the class, the students (and sometimes teachers too) knock on their tables instead of clapping or like in Finland, just leaving. I think this is a funny thing to do, and every time a class ends, I’m excited getting to knock, knock, knock on the table haha.
Overall the lifestyle in Austria is a lot like Finland. People like their personal space (except on the metros, they are used to the big crowds) but unlike Finnish people, if they caught you from doing something wrong they will let you know, such as talking on your phone too loud. Austrians might at first seem rude, but once you realize it’s just another different culture and actually get to know them and their ways, you’ll realize they have a great sense of humor and they are very helpful whatever it may concern.
Since back in Finland, I had been doing two things for quite a long time: working and studying at the same time, I feel like I have had plenty of spear time during my semester here (even with 29 ECTS). Vienna is a big and vibrant city full of various activities and interesting places to see and choose from. It is full of beautiful culture and architecture, that I personally can’t seem to get enough even after over three months.
If you find yourself in Middle-Europe, don’t miss the chance of visiting the cities and countries nearby! I have learned that Vienna has the greatest location to travel from in a very affordable way. I myself have visited Bratislava, Budapest and Brno, which are all maximum couple hours away. Not to forget Austria’s own gems such as Salzburg, Graz and last but not least Zell am See, where I got to experience skiing in the Alps (Bucket List!).
Coffee and café culture are a big thing in Vienna. There are numerous cafes and restaurants that me and my friends have explored throughout the semester on our free-time. I have also made sure that in a historical place like Vienna, I needed to catch up with the cultural side. There are many different kinds of museums, theaters and operas to choose from, whether you like it historic, drama or musical kind of way. I would say, anything is possible in Vienna, and there will not be a dull or boring moment in a city like this. I can highly recommend Vienna as a destination and going for an exchange in general, it will give you more than you could even imagine!