Jasmine - University of Vienna

B Arts
Semester 2, 2018

Academic experience

I studied a combination of political science, international relations and economics subjects at Universität Wien. The classes are divided into two styles, lectures and seminars, with the former being smaller classes and the latter being large groups. I found the registration process at Universität Wien to be very different from that of UQ, so I would recommend spending some time getting to know the online student portal - Moodle - and registering for classes with friends after arriving. It was fascinating studying subjects with a different worldview and focus, and I was able to learn a lot about the politics and history of Europe. 

There is support available from coordinators at UQ and Vienna, should there be any trouble in organising or selecting classes, and there is a student union on campus should you need any additional help.

Personal experience

The personal skills I gained through my semester exchange are innumerable. Exchange is a fantastic way to test and develop your confidence and independence in a situation that is wholly unfamiliar. I was able to make lots of friends and meet people from all across the world, some of whom I then traveled in Europe with. As Vienna is an incredibly central city, travel was easy to organise and I was fortunate to explore a few countries; including, surrounding Austria, Hungary, Italy, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, England, and Turkey. 

I also took an intensive German language course with the Sprachenzentrum Universität Wien, which I would highly recommend to anybody coming to Vienna. The language school and ESN, an Erasmus network, provide lots of opportunities to sight-see and travel around Vienna and make new friends.

Accommodation

Universität Wien does not have on-campus accommodation as it is right in the city center. There is a variety of student living options, and I found my accommodation from Housing Anywhere, an online portal servicing many cities across Europe. Using this agency provided me with some security in choosing a living option. As the university campus is in the center of Vienna, it is most convenient to live in a surrounding district. However, the public transport in Vienna is exceptionally efficient and well-connected, and shouldn't be too difficult to get to and from the university. I enjoyed living so close to the city center, in the 18th district, and being well-connected to so many sights and cafes. 

Tips: You need accommodation for every day you are applying to be in Vienna to be accounted for for Visa purposes. Austria also requires you register your address with a muncipal district after arriving and leaving from your address there. The form, and English translation, is available from the university website.

Costs

The cost of living in Vienna is approximately equivalent to that of Australia, with regard to accommodation, transport, and food costs. Travel and entertainment costs will be determined by individual preferences, however I would recommend budgeting for more than you expect as there are many travel experiences available and organised by ESN that are a fantastic opportunity. 

My rent was 460 euros/month, and travel covered by a semester ticket available from the start of each semester from a Wiener Linien office. There is also a variety of supermarkets at different price-points, with Lidl and Höfer being at the cheaper end and Billa and Spar being more expensive.

Challenge

I was challenged by the different assessment and registration requirements, however there is support available from both UQ and Universität Wien, as well as the student union.

Professional Development

It is difficult to narrow the skills I have learnt into just one or two. Learning to be independent in an unfamiliar country was a fantastic personal development opportunity, and I was able to make friends and enjoy a beautiful city. Professionally, learning to communicate in a cross-cultural environment was a really good experience, and I made connections with teachers and students that will contribute to my ongoing development.

Highlight

The highlight of my exchange experience was meeting so many wonderful people and having the opportunity to travel around Europe with them. Vienna was such a beautiful city to be based in, and will be considered as the highlight of my university career.

Top tips

I would recommend any student take all the opportunities presented to them in Vienna and to make the most of living in a beautiful, central city. ESN is an exchange network that offers lots of experiences and events throughout the semester which I would highly recommend keeping in the loop of.