I chose to spend my studies abroad in Austria, at the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, in the city of Steyr. The main reason why I chose this university is because of the Double Degree programme.
Having finished my 7th semester, I decided to prolong my studies at the university and to go abroad, where I would gain more experience. So in the second half of February 2012 I left for Austria and so my new five-months-long student life in Austria began. I have to say that the welcome was more than great. In Steyr, they are greatly prepared for foreign students and they have much to offer. The fact that 58 other foreign students spent the summer semester 2012 in Steyr with me speaks for itself. After the first week spent at school I had the feeling that we had known each other for years. My classsmates were great and I think that any fear of the new environment is very much out of place here.
In the course of the semester, the organisers prepared a number of events: bowling, BBQ's, fancy dress party, international fair and many other activities. With my classmates we went on trips, celebrated birthday parties and every wednesday we would go the student’s pub. For the whole semester I lived in an apartment on puchstrasse with 4 other students (from Canada, South Korea, Latvia and the Czech Republic). We got on very well and had no problems at all and we are planning to visit one another once the semester ends. Likewise with a number of other classmates studying here - I am already looking forward to visiting Mexico, Norway, Vietnam or Australia.
Regarding catering, most students cook for themselves. Supermarkets such as Lidl and Interspar are just around the corner, so it it not an issue to do your shopping in ten minutes. I went to the university canteen from time to time to buy lunch (great pasta salad or a large 500g yoghurt with fresh fruit for EUR 1,50). But dinner for EUR 5 seemed a bit too expensive for me. Even though it is a plate full of anything you would like, but in my opinion it is too expensive to eat there everyday.
Steyr is very close to larger cities, such as Salzburg or Vienna. I can recommend a trip to Hallstatt or the Kalkalpen National park. Foreign students very often visit Budapest in Hungary, Venice in Italy, France, Spain or England, but us Czechs rather enjoyed partying in Austria. As I am studying here in the double degree programme, I attended some courses with Austrian students. These courses were more demanding but I managed to pass everything. Other courses which are solely for foreign students are easier. There is no need to be afraid of using foreign languages and the professors are real experts in their field and have perfect English skills. The academic foucs is completely different to what we are used to. We focused on practical, real-life cases, worked o studies of actual companies and solved tasks which brought us new knowledge of the real world.
For other students who are now making the decision of where to go abroad, I would definitely recommend Steyr. It is a beautiful historical city, the university is newly reconstructed, the professors are very helpful, the course are very varied and the experience with new friends is priceless. Enjoy your studies abroad, a semester will be over quickly, but your memories will stay with you forever.
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