Lindsay - University of Graz

B. Arts / Laws
Semester 1, 2015

Academic experience

I took 7 courses while studying at Uni Graz for a total of 35ECTS. Prior to the beginning of the semester, I took the intensive German course offered by Treffpunkt Sprachen and combined this with a Business German course to receive credit for one Arts elective course. I would definitely recommend taking the intensive German course; not only does it provide a crash course in German (at your level), but it is also an opportunity to meet and make friends with other exchange students from around the world. Note, however, that the exchange agreement does not cover the costs of taking these courses; you have to cover these yourself. 

As part of my law degree, I took Public International Law, International Law and the Internet, Legal Harmonisation in the European Union, Citizenship Law and Introduction to the International Dimensions of Law. One difference between UQ and Uni Graz is that a high percentage of courses are offered in intensive blocks. While I initially found it odd having different classes each week, I ultimately preferred the intensive courses as they allowed you to focus on one subject at a time and provided greater flexibility for travel on your free days. My favourite course was Legal Harmonisation in the EU as it was conducted over two days at the University of Zagreb in Croatia. Uni Graz arranged transport, accommodation and meals for us at no extra cost and while I had to research and write a 10-page paper with no background in the topic, it was definitely worth it! I would also highly recommend Introduction to the International Dimensions of Law. The professor is incredibly entertaining and enthusiastic and the course has a high percentage of Austrian students who have chosen to study the course in English purely to have him as a lecturer.

It is also worth noting that you need to be very flexible with the subjects you are planning to take, as organising a timetable of courses in English without clashes can be difficult. I had initially planned to only take law courses but subsequently altered my plan to include an arts subject when this proved very difficult. 

Personal experience

Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum
Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum

My exchange semester encompassed so many personal experiences that it is difficult to know where to start. From the friendships I made, the spontaneous weekend trips to towns we’d never heard of, the German conversations that didn’t always go to plan and the cooking adventures with my roommate and housemate (with whom I will be friends for life!) – the only way you will be able to understand the incredible experience that is exchange, is to check it out yourself!


Uni Graz is incredibly well organised and provides a lot of support to exchange students. Upon receiving your acceptance email, the university invites you to submit a housing application. There are numerous options in different areas around Graz to suit a variety of people. I stayed in the OeAD Guesthouse at Neubaugasse and paid 300€/month for a furnished double room with high-speed internet and a weekly cleaning service. I had initially requested a single room but was allocated a double room. This was definitely a blessing in disguise – my roommate became a close friend and I wouldn’t have had it any other way!

The dorm as a whole was very well located; it was a 20-minute walk to campus or a 12-minute bus ride away. All three major supermarkets were literally around the corner and the town centre was a 10-minute walk away. I was very fortunate to be living in a quiet apartment so noise and parties were not a big issue for me but this was, of course, dependent upon your apartment. 

The most common complaint about the service provided by the housing department was that an 18€ administration fee was deducted from the deposit each month. Personally, I was more than happy to pay this fee for the convenience of having someone else find me a guaranteed place to stay and manage everything for me, but it is something to be taken into consideration.


I paid 300€/month for rent and spent 80€ on a public transport card for the semester. Others bought a bike and then resold it at the end of the semester to recover some of the cost, but for me, the card was worth every cent.

Professional development and employability

On an academic level, studying at Graz was a completely new experience with different course structures, assessment methods, teaching styles and learning environments. It pushed me to become more flexible, to engage with course materials and lecturers in a different way and above all, to think about course content from a different perspective. These skills are most certainly transferable to any future career path and, as a student who has recently participated in a graduate role recruitment process, I can attest firsthand to the interest that potential employers showed in my exchange semester.


'Stairway to Nothingness', Dachstein
'Stairway to Nothingness', Dachstein

After six months of living in a foreign country, meeting incredible new people and travelling throughout (and eating my way across) Europe, it is impossible to pick a single highlight of my exchange experience. A particularly memorable experience, however, was finishing the Grazathlon with my best friend. 10km, 16 obstacles, 260 steps and a whole lot of mud – the Grazathlon was certainly a city tour with a difference!

Top tips

  • Sign up for the buddy program! The student society (ESN) works very hard to pair you up with someone with similar interests to you and you have a guaranteed Austrian friend with invaluable local knowledge. The buddies are also a great help when it comes time for you to move in; they will often meet you at the train station/airport, pick up your key for your apartment and help you to get settled in Graz. 
  • Buy an OBB card. This card costs 20€, but with it, you can buy tickets at a serious discount. The earlier you book a ticket, the greater your discount. 
  • Sign up for a University Sports Institute (USI) course. These courses run for the entire semester and can cost as little as 17€/semester. USI offers every sport under the sun so it is a great opportunity to try something new, meet some local students and to burn off some of the Sacher Torte! 
  • Get an ESN card and sign up for as many events as you can. ESN Graz organises events to interest everyone – from hiking and skiing to cooking classes and opera tours. Once again, this is a great opportunity to meet people from all around the world and to discover Austria with the help of some local students! 
  • Explore Eastern Europe. Countries like Slovenia and Hungary don’t have the renown of France and Italy, but it doesn’t mean that they have any less to offer! Some of my best memories come from places that I never thought I’d visit – be sure to check out Plitvice Lakes in Croatia, Lake Bled in Slovenia and Budapest in Hungary if you get the chance!
Lindsay - University of Graz