Sue - University of Vienna

B. Law / Arts
Semester 2, 2015

Academic experience

I studied a range of courses in public and private international law. Because the courses were mainly 2-4 ECTS, I ended up having to study 10 subjects throughout the semester. Some of the courses were also taught in blocks, or every two weeks, and this made timetable planning incredibly difficult, with frequent clashes. However, the workload was manageable, and the courses that I took averaged 1.5 to 2 hours contact on a weekly basis, with the format being a sort of interactive lecture.

The course registration system was incredibly frustrating - you have to register within a timeframe and then you are either allocated a place in the class, or somewhere on the waitlist (which can be very very very long). However, many students end up deregistering from the course, so if you consistently show up to class, then it is likely you will eventually get a spot in that subject.

There are a range of courses, with some of them even being offered a few weeks after semester has already started (to be taught in block a month later), so if you're flexible and keep checking the course catalogue, you may be able to register in some courses that not a lot of students are aware of.

Personal experience

Exchange was easily one of the best experiences of my life so far. I travelled throughout continental Europe and was able to meet people from all over the world, learn about different cultures and history, and try lots of amazing food.


I stayed in a student dorm (STUWO) located in the 8th district, which was located close to uni, main shopping areas, and within walking distance of some really nice restaurants, cafes and bars. I had a single room, a bathroom shared with another girl, and the kitchen was shared with the whole floor. It was a good balance between having my own private space and socialising, and I met a lot of local students during my stay there. If you want to apply for a dorm, make sure you apply as soon as you get your acceptance letter, because a lot of them were already full when I first started applying.


I found the general cost of living to be a lot cheaper than in Brisbane (rent was €374 per month, and a semester transport ticket only cost €75). Supermarkets like Aldi (known as Hofer in Austria) and Lidl were also extremely budget friendly (39c for a pretzel!), and if you shop during the evenings or on Saturdays, there are usually further discounts (because the groceries are usually fresh, and shops are closed Sundays). My main expenses were transport costs in travelling outside Austria, but you could save a lot of money by booking tickets in advance, or through ridesharing. Overall, I spent roughly $10-12k, but this was largely due travelling extensively before, during and after the semester.

Professional development and employability

Having studied a range of subjects in international law, I became aware of various opportunities for working overseas in the future. I have also learned to be adaptable and flexible to overcome various challenges that arose during that time (including last-minute changes to transport, such as being denied boarding on a flight home).


Aside from being able to see snow and travelling, I was really excited to get tickets to see the finals of the Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw. I was also able to see various concerts and operas, with last minute (standing tickets) from only €3.

Top tips

Recommended apps:

  • Citymaps2go for offline maps
  • Qando for transport planner in Vienna

Great places to eat

  • Golden Harp (Irish bar)
  • Duru Kebap (the best kebabs for only €2.50)
  • Deewan (delicious Pakistani buffet, pay as much as you want)
  • Naschmarkt and nearby (for variety of food!)

Transport (intercity/international):

  • Flixbus (or meinfernbus)
  • OEBB sparschiene tickets
  • Ridesharing with Blablacar (as affordable last-minute options)