Tag Archives: Austria

Graz, a city in a valley

Hello!

I’m an exchange student at University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, Austria. I study singing as my main subject and I’m here for 6 months, the summer semester 2017. I love my school and the city. It must not come as  a surprise, but this country is a dream for a student of classical music! I was so lucky that I got to take my boyfriend and our 2-year-old son with me, so the 3 of us are experiencing this all together.

I have been planning to travel more on my spare time, but life has been quite busy with school.  The only places I went to were Salzburg and Vienna. It’s very handy with Flixbus! Though always when we have a little chance to do something, we have been getting to know the city more. Especially after getting to know some local friends, we have found amazingly beautiful places, mostly on tops of some mountains. Well, like the topic describes, Graz is surrounded my mountains. There is also one in the middle of the city called “Schlossberg” with an amazing view of course, and places to have a beer… And because of the mountains the city itself gets very hot at the beginning of June and lasts for long! No air-conditioning trough the mountains 😀

Between TAMK and here.. we can see that in Graz the school can afford more different kinds of courses. Of course it’s a fact that people around the whole world want to study classical music in Austria, it’s very popular. Singers get 2,5 singing lessons per week, they learn French and Italian for all 4 years. They have individual lessons with correpetitors twice a week and on the side of a big opera project each year they offer high quality opera-class projects. They even have individual weekly classes with professional opera directors. The level is so high that I can only listen to my colleagues and learn how they do it all!

I’m so happy to have had this experience. And Graz is so magical !!! <3

Yours,

Piia

Grüß Gott from Austria

 

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The entrance to the old city of Wels

What did I know about Wels beforehand? Nothing. A small city in upper Austia, 60000 inhabitants. That was what Google said. Still it turned out to be a much more than that. Nice old buildings, a university of applied sciences and events going on. In total, beautiful and lively city.

I studied one semester in Upper Austria University of Technologies in Wels, Austria. My study program there was Innovation and Product Management, which was a bit different compared to mechanical engineering back in Tampere. Still this period gave me different overview about management field, especially when all my courses were in master program. At the beginning, I thought would it be doable but it turns out that the courses were not impossible. If you are thinking is something possible, it is, just jump into it!

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The Alps

Manners

Daily living in Austria is not so different compared to Finland, except there is some more traditional habits. All shops close early and are closed on Sundays. Besides, cash is still widely used and credit cards work just in supermarkets or bigger shops.

What comes to manners, Austria is more masculine country than Finland. In Geert Hofstede’s analysis Austria got 79 point out of 100 in masculinity, when Finland got only 26 points. That means that Austria’s society is more driven by competition, achievement and success. In Austria, people live to work, unlike in Finland where people work to live. That means in Austria people are more career-oriented than in Finland. I didn’t see the difference every day, but generally people were very oriented in school and wanted to achieve big things after it. For my opinion, this kind of attitude at least in the school was just positive. (https://geert-hofstede.com/austria.html)

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Hallstatt

 

Travelling

In middle Europe, everything is near. Trains work perfectly (no delays because of snow or electric failure..) and you can reach cities and different countries just in couple of hours. That is why the best thing was travelling: ski resorts, capitals, small cities, everything! In every trip, I also tried to explore as many different cuisines as possible. Especially in eastern Europe you get very good dishes with reasonable price. Berlin is also heaven for a gourmet, totally recommended.

In conclusion, if someone is thinking there do I dare to leave out of my comfort zone and do something new and exciting, I have only one tip: definitely. It will gain something that you did not know even existed. Be open-minded!

 

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Berlin food

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Berlin TV tower

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Brno

Greetings from Austria

It´s now almost my third month in Krems, Austria and what can I say… I love it here! This city is a rather small place with only 20 000 inhabitants but that’s one of the reasons why I like being here. Compared to Tampere there is not much fuss all the time and its nice for a change. In here you get to know to the people well and places come really familiar because it´s not a big city. The center is beautiful with its old buildings and many churches.

Krems an der Donau
Krems an der Donau

I live in this kind of student dormitory which is called Stuwo. It´s a bit far from the university but at least you get exercise when you walk to school and back. A lot of people have bought a bike and at first I was going to do the same but then I decided that I want to spend my money on something else, for example travelling.

IMC University of Appiled Sciences Krems
IMC University of Appiled Sciences Krems

What else is great is that Austria is in the center of the Europe and in few hours by a bus or a train you can go to different countries and its extremely cheap. I have already been in Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland and later I might go to Germany as well.

A picture from Zakopane, Poland.
A picture from Zakopane, Poland.

What came as a bit of a shock for me when I arrived here was the fact that basically everything is closed on Sundays. Austrians are mostly catholic people and that why Sundays are resting days for them. Not even during the week’s shops are open late. Everything closes at eight at the latest. Another thing which I don’t like is that you can smoke inside bars and clubs. There is no fresh air anywhere and when you get home all your clothes and hair smell like cigarettes.

The original Sacher Torte in Hotel Sacher, Vienna
The original Sacher Torte in Hotel Sacher, Vienna

Despite those things I do enjoy being here. I have made a lot of friends and most of them live in this same place as me. My friends from Finland have come to visit me and my parents are coming in the end of May. Then we are going to travel around Austria. I´m going to stay here in Krems until June and I´m looking forward to see what this exchange has yet to offer me!

Cultural Vienna

I have been doing my exchange in Vienna Austria. First of, the city is really clean, there’s lot’s of cafe’s and a lot of culture. The city is a nice blend of old tradionatiolism and rising alternative youth culture.

Schönnbrun
Schönnbrun

 

Studying in Vienna is quite similar to studying in Finland, except there are no food breaks. There are breaks between classes but there is no food break, and people do not usually eat at the university. At first I ate at the cafeteria but quickly stopped, since the food there wasn’t that special. There are many restaurants so it is actually better to explore and eat elsewhere.

The classes are a bit bigger with more people attending and a bit longer. I’m studying Management in Vienna. I can say that I am pleased with the quality of the education, we have english speaking lecturers that are really good. Also the student office is really helpful and great in the university.

National Library
National Library

In my spare time in Austria I hang out with my ERASMUS friends and with my girlfriend. We tour the many museums of the city and visit restaurants and cafes. I used to go to the gym but I stopped since it takes too much time. Exchange is one of those “once in a lifetime” moments and you should make use of the time, there’s plenty of time to go to the gym when you get back home to Finland. From Vienna it’s really easy to go to other countries. I have gone to Prague and I plan to go to Slovakia, Bratislava.

It’s quite hard to make a comparison about studying in Austria vs studying in Finland since it’s so similar. We have equal amount of group work and independent work. It’s really the same. The Austrian way of doing things is quite similar as well, except Austrians want to be well ahead of deadlines, also they spend too much time setting this up so the whole group is present when tehy could just divide the work and do it independently.

But I can say that this exchange has been one of the best experiences in my life and that I recommend going to Vienna and Austria, it’s totally worth it.

Greetings from Graz

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I have spent four months in Graz now and I can’t say other than it has been the best time of my life. I have met amazing people, I’ve tried new things and learnt so much about myself. I’ve made friends for life from all over the world and built an Erasmus family around me.

Graz is a quite small city full of students. It means a lot of parties and sosialization. I have found it very suitable for me and being this social is something I want to have in future too.

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Austria is pretty much in the middle of Europe, and that has given me a great opportunity to do short trips. I’ve been to Salzburg, Vienna, Berlin, Maribor (Slovenia), Hallstatt and Grüner see.

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The most amazing trip until now has been a skiing trip to Kaprun Zell am See. I love snowboarding and it has always been my dream to go to the Alps. We made a trip with ESN and spent a weekend skiing and having fun with friends. The weather was perfect and the slopes were incredible.

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Studying in here has been more difficult than I expected. Courses are not harder, but my university doesn’t offer courses in English which was a surprise for me since I was able to do all the applications in English and also the choice of courses was in English. It means that I have had to do some courses to TAMK to make sure I get enough credits. I’m okay with that, but it means a lot of writing.

The quality of my university here is much higher than in Finland. The students of my professor are amazing and it gives me a lot of motivation and inspiration. I don’t even try to compete with them, just to learn from them. Two students of my professor came third in the biggest flute competition in the world. That tells something of the level.

One thing that has been really hard to get used to here is the unhelpfullnes of the people. If you go to an office and ask something that isn’t straightly in their field (for example where is the nearest post office) you usually get “I don’t know” for an answer. In Finland I’ve been used to that if someone doesn’t know but has a better chance than me to find out about it they’ll try to find an answer. I worked myself in a pharmacy for five months last year and it was perfectly normal to help people with somethig that had nothing to do with that pharmacy.

I can already say that going for exchange was the best decision I have made in my life yet. I’m so happy that it hasn’t been even half of it yet, and I’m going to enjoy every single minute of it.

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-Enna

No kangaroos in Austria

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Hinterstoder

A Finn greets you all with a hello from Austira!

Time flies and it has flied for over 3 months already. I’m been spending my time in a little city called Wels in the upper Austria studying electrical engineering. The School is called Fachhochschule Ober-Österreich (Upper Austria University of Applied Sciences).

With me there came around 30 new incomings from all over the world (mostly mexicans and french) and 4 from Finland. The whole time I’m been here I’ve been living in a student dorm called Schulerheim.

The studying has gone really well with free time events almost every week. People are really nice here and are ready to help if you just mind to ask. The teaching in here has been really good and there has not really been problems with what comes to the school.

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Wels, Austria

Living in Wels has been really different from living in Finland. Most of the free time is spent with other incoming and friends I have made from just going around Austria. There has been so much stuff going on in these past few months that it is hard to put into one blog post.

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Hiking in Hallstatt with friends

There has been traveling to other cities and countries, skiing, student events, partying, sports and all kinds of activities all the semester and I’m happy I went to all of them. The biggest trip was with my dorm neighbors (Gregy, Ivan, Jose, Jose 2) to Prague -> Bratislava -> Budapest and back to Vienna. We had a lot of fun on that trip and saw a bit of the neighboring countries as well.

Here is some photos from there

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Prague
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Left to right – Jose, Jose, Gregy, Ivan and me in the middle
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Budapest, Trainstation
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Budapest

By the way, I was disappointed not to find any kangaroos here but I still recommend Austria for a place to visit in Europe!

Austria: country for nature and history lovers

I have spent a little bit over 3 months in a beautiful small town called Krems in Lower Austria, situated next to Danube river. It is located about 70 km west from Vienna and 270 km east of Salzburg. The town itself is rather small, it has only about 24 000 inhabitants and everything is in walking distance. There is no need for using buses or cars because you can get anywhere on foot or by bike!

Krems

Founded even before 1000, Krems is a very historic town. On almost every step, you pass by beautiful old buildings and churches. Also our school, IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems, is located in a building belonging  to Piaristen church. Some of the classrooms are even in former wine cellars.

The most famous building in the town is Steiner Tor, which is this gate located in the historic centre. The main street of the old town beggins from here.

Krems - Steiner Tor

This area is famous for its vineyards as well. Above the town, there is a hill with vineyards where you can walk and see a view of the whole town and also Danube river.

Krems 3

I have been staying in a student hostel (or dorm), which is very high quality standard compared to some other student facilities in Europe. We have single rooms in 2 rooms flats and common kitchen. There is also sauna, gym and music room. Living here is very comfortable and I have met really great friends here in the dorm!

Our school is one of the top quality schools in Austria and has the best student satisfaction. The school environment is a bit more formal than in Finland but still it remains really friendly and the teachers appreciate some interractions and dialogues during classes. The student life is also very nice and friendly. Since Krems is rather small, you have a feeling of closeness and it’s not a problem to meet new people and make close friends.

Many student trips are organized for us here. However, I only participated in two of them. The first one in the very beginning to surrounding Wachau valley – visiting nearby towns Dürnstein and Melk:

DürnsteinMelk

The second trip I participated in was a skiing weekend in Kaprun in the Alps! Austria is a great country for mountain and skiing/snowboarding lovers. The weather was beautiful and the atmosphere so peaceful up in the mountains, up to 3000 m above sea level.

Kaprun

If you like nature and history, come to Austria, you are not going to regret!

Servus! – Greetings from the Austrian Alps

I started my exchange studies at Salzburg University of Applied Sciences (FH Salzburg) three months ago and I couldn’t be happier about the decision. The landscape here is unbelievable and I’ve met amazing people from all over the globe. Luckily I have still almost two months left here before heading back to Finland in February.

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Untersberg.

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Studies in the FH’s Business Management Degree Program have been interesting and I’ve achieved most of my study targets. FH has a great variety of business courses in English and I’ve get to known also some local students since the groups are mostly mixed with regular students.

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Prague, Czech Republic.

Besides studying I’ve also had time to travel. Together with my new buddies we’ve explored Venice, Prague, Linz, Munich and Innsbruck so far. January will be reserved for exams, Vienna and skiing.

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Frohe Weinachten und ein glückliches neues Jahr!

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,

Riina

Herzliche Grüße aus Wiener Neustadt!

Greetings from Wiener Neustadt, Austria!

My 4 month exchange semester in Fachhochschule Wiener Neustadt is almost in the end and I’m heading back to Finland next week. Time here has gone really fast and it has been so amazing. I have met a lot of new people from all around the world, made longlasting friendships, travelled in three different countries, and not forgetting, the studies.

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Our faculty FHWN

I have been in Austria several times before, so I have known something about Austrian culture, but now of course even more. Wiener Neustadt is a small city, with 43 000 inhabitants near Vienna. It takes around 30-40 minutes by train from Wiener Neustadt to Vienna, so basically you can visit there every day.

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Austria-round-trip and beautiful Hallstatt

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Wiener Wiesn-Fest in Vienna with my Dirndl-ladies

Here we have around 30 exchange students from different countries, for instance Finland, Ireland, the USA, Portugal, Italy, Peru, Taiwan and South Korea. I have learned a lot of different cultures and improved my English and German skills.

The best experiences in last months have been travelling new places, meeting awesome people, hiking and rafting in beautiful landscapes and -of course- cheap Austrian wine.

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HC Slovan Bratislava – SKA St. Petersburg hockey game in Bratislava

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Hiking on the top of Steinwandklamm

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Exploring sunny Budapest

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Rafting in Wildalpen

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Christmas market in the city center Wiener Neustadt

This place is starting to feel like home and I wouldn’t even want to leave back to Finland. I could definetely see myself living in Austria or somewhere else abroad in the future.

Liebe Grüße,
Anniina xx

Griaß eich aus Wiener Neustadt!

First of all, I want to recommend Austria for students who still think about where should I go to do my exchange studies. A lovely country, beautiful views, amazing mountains and friendly people. But I also want to recommend to choose better than me. If you have two options: Vienna or Wiener Neustadt. You should definitely choose Vienna. Wiener Neustadt is a nice city but in here the only option is to live in Wihast Dormitory. Actually this student dormitory is located in the middle of industrial center (middle of nowhere). Only good thing in here is that you can spend time with other exchanger students but actually we have only 30 exchangers here. Up to this point, we have had a lot of problems. The company Wihast, who owns this dormitory, doesn’t care at all. Fachhochschule Wiener Neustadt itself is good but it doesn’t compensate that. Anyways, if you still want to come here in Wiener Neustadt, I really recommend to rent a private apartment in the centre of Wiener Neustadt or try to get someway an apartment/shared room in another dormitory (FH Dorms or Orange dorms).

Time runs here so fast. I’d just realized that it was over 2 months since I arrived in Vienna International Airport and started my journey to Wiener Neustadt city. The Wiener Neustadt city itself is quite small. There are 42 thousands inhabitants. But if I compare this city to my hometown Nokia in Finland where there are living 33 thousands people, the difference is so huge. Here is nice old town in very nice atmosphere. Actually, there are so many shops and restaurant and even a huge shopping center that I was quite shocked at the beginning. I really thought this should be a small town.

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In my opinion, local people are more purposeful, sometimes even aggressive, they actually say what they are thinking, but also they really respect and love their own country and other people. Austrians are proud of their homeland and this is something that I want to bring home from here. Finland is also a great place to live and we have so many good things. Unfortunately, often you have to travel first outside to Finland to realize these facts. We Finns can also be proud of our country.

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Before this journey I decided to travel as much I can. I have had  the opportunity to explore 4 countries and 8 different cities. Most memorable moment was in Prague. Marvelous city, which offers possibilities to get known to Prague’s history, feel the passion of city itself and taste some local food and of course local beer. We are planning to go to Italy, Slovenia and Croatia at the end of November and on December but time will be the biggest problem so we have to leave some of those journeys for the future.

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Until now, amazing journey behind and lots of experiences and knowledge from other countries and cultures! There are still many awesome moments ahead.

Wünsch eich no an schenan November!
Alles Gute euer Sami