I am in my 5th year of a BA/LLB and just finished a semester on exchange at Karl-Franzens-Universität, Graz, Austria. During the semester, I took 5 courses, predominantly covering international and European/EU human rights law (in English and German), as elective courses in my LLB. During the month prior to the start of the Winter Semester courses, I also too an intensive German language course. These courses are offered from beginner to advanced levels and, although the teaching quality varies, they are a great way to get to know people and take part in some of the social events organised at student dorms and by the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) before the real uni work starts. The best part of exchange really all was of the amazing people I met and became friends with. We organised our own trips away together as well as attending loads of events and celebrating special days, like birthdays, Christmas and New Year.

Initially, I lived in a student dorm, but I moved out to a private apartment after 2 months due to problems with my roommate. Although we were afforded the chance in our application to state our preference for accommodation, it appears that chances of getting this are very slim. Although I asked for a single room, I was allocated a shared bedroom, which for me was very uncomfortable. Having said that, some friends of mine were able to cope with this arrangement, but if you are the kind of person who needs their own space, I would suggest you reject the housing offer and seek a private apartment. As such, I moved out and had to pay double rent for 2 months because, although the housing office was very helpful, a replacement person could not be found for my room for that time. The housing contracts generally do not allow you to move out and not pay rent unless a replacement can be found.

I definitely learnt a lot during my time at KFU, at least in part because the European governance structure and system of human rights was entirely new to me. The courses (of which there are different types reflecting the expectations of students) which I took were very much focused on student input. My assessment was mainly term papers as well as course attendance. Students were prepare each week but overall classes were quite relaxed, with lecturers willing to make allowances for exchange students – including rescheduling an exam so we could go skiing! The only difficulty with assessment was trying to get my head around how relaxed they are about due dates.

Graz is a very affordable city for student living, as well as being beautiful, well-situated for travelling within and outside Austria, and being loads of fun. It’s big enough that it has everything, but small enough to feel like a home away from home. I would definitely recommend Graz as a city for exchange. And absolutely try and make friends with the locals – the students will welcome you with open arms, especially when they find out you’re from Australia!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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