Bachelor of Arts and Law, 6th Year
Bachelor of Arts and Law, 6th Year

Academic experiences

Over the semester I studied subjects from a range of different schools, and across both masters and undergrad level.
I did all my courses in English as that was mostly what was on offer.

My masters level courses were very interesting, with most of them running intensively – the classes were super small (5-10 people) and ran like a very long tutorial (so pretty much had to do the reading).
It was great as I got to go into specialised things (e.g. the classes I did were Feminist International Relations and one on new/niche political parties), these had a small presentation which was pretty easy and a 6000 word paper due at the end.

The undergrad courses I did were only worth 3 ETCS which was a little annoying, they had 2 contact hours a week which were lecture style with a some questions from the lecturer thrown in.
It generally wasn’t necessary to do much prep before them or anything, and all they had was a final exam which wasn’t super hard!

Overall, I would recommend checking out what courses you can do beforehand – if you have to do a lot of 3ECTS ones like a lot of other people I knew who couldn’t mix and match like I did, then I would recommend only doing 3 UQ subjects worth of credits.
Most exchange students don’t do 30 ECTS, and a lot of other exchange students’ unis accept something around 25 as a fulltime load so just be aware of that!
If it means doing a subject over summer so you can have more time to experience exchange life then I would definitely recommend doing that.

Winter ice skating rink outside the Rathaus

Also, the sign on process for courses is super weird.
The general recommendation I have is really check out when the sign on dates are – if you miss getting on the waiting list at least it makes life more difficult.
A lot of subjects get heaps of people enrolling in them, especially undergrad courses run in English, so you’ll probably end up on the waiting list for at least something.
This isn’t an issue at all to be honest, just keep rocking up every week for lectures and getting your name signed off/email the lecturer (or the lecturers assistant; they have a much higher tendency to actually read and respond to your email) explaining how you need x subject.
I am yet to meet anyone who attended the class for at least 4 wks and didn’t end up with a spot in it.

Zotter chocolate factory

Personal experiences

I cannot explain how absolutely amazing it is to have Europe at your doorstep.
To travel an hour and be in a new country which has a different language and culture and way of doing things – it’s just brilliant.

I went from never having been to Europe before to having been to over ten countries in Europe.
I couldn’t read a map when I left Australia and now I consider myself somewhat pro at navigation, and also so less hesitant to just ask people for directions.

Having English as a mother tongue is such a bonus when traveling as it really seems to be a general language which everyone seems to know a little – nonetheless, when in another country I highly recommend trying to learn please, thank you and excuse me/sorry – makes life so much easier and people really do seem to appreciate the effort.

You also truly do meet some fantastic characters on exchange also, it just feels like everyone who goes has already got something pretty big in common with you, they have this spirit of adventure that it’s really easy to tap into and I have yet to meet anyone on exchange who it wasn’t easy to chat with!
Definitely join ESN and go to their events in the first few weeks – it’s just a great way to meet people.

Eurovision finals at Eurovision Village

Accommodation

A lot of exchange/Erasmus students do go through OEAD and it can be pretty okay – their rooms are nice, and there are a few dorms which are located pretty centrally (e.g. the one near Praterstern), however they are also expensive for what they are and you won’t always be placed somewhere close by.
I initially went with OEAD but the place they offered me was 40 mins away and expensive so I rejected it and found a place myself.
I ended up with a single room for 285 a week a 15 min walk from the University so was pretty lucky.
If you want to go this route have a look at the Erasmus info page on the Uni Wien website they have links to a bunch of dorms – email ALL of them as far in advance if you can.
I ended up getting my offer less than a month before I left Australia.
To be honest, it also is not that hard to find share housing in Vienna, if you are keen for a share house send me a message and I can link you to a few of the FB groups which are around!

When looking for location if it’s on the U2 line then you’re sweet for getting to uni and basically anywhere around the city.
The city stop is Karlsplatz on that line (Stephensplatz on others) so locate yourself around there!
Also there’s an app called qando which is great for transport – like QLD gov’t journey planner but as an app and better.

Lastly – for transport you should get the semester card, however this is substantially cheaper if you arrive and register at the municipal office before a certain date – the date depends on the semester so if you can try to get in early and save yourself 70 euro.

Budget

I received Centrelink while overseas (Get a skype account by the way because it is inevitable that they will cut you off at some point so you will have to get up at an ungodly hour to fix it…), got the $6000 HECS loan and had about $7000 saved and did 7wks of travel surrounding the semester and got out of Vienna on a weekend trip nearly every second weekend and also ate out a fair bit/went out a bit.
I am coming home broke, but it was worth it.
It’s very easy to get cheap overnight buses to other countries (Mein Fernbus/Flixbus, Student Agency, Orangeways and Megabus are some good ones to name a few) so it’s not hard to travel.
Also, I highly recommend flying in/out of Bratislava for your Europe travels as Ryanair fly from there and they are just so much cheaper than anything else – I got a few 20 euro flights which was great.

Cost of living is generally lower in Vienna compared to Australia, but not by a huge amount (café coffee is also more expensive ).
Aldi is called Hofer over there, and is probably the cheapest and not bad for vegetables/frozen meals, also get a Hofer sim card – so cheap!
10 euro a month gets you 3 gig of data plus texts and calls.
Also for bank account would recommend Bank Austria as they give you freebies for joining.

Academic development and employability

I have developed the ability to meet new people and market myself with confidence in a new environment to a much higher degree.
Additionally, academically the classes were just absolutely fascinating – Vienna is a UN City, so one of my lecturers who was speaking on human rights was the Special Rapporteur for torture and just incredibly knowledgeable and passionate.

Highlight

Being near the front of the Eurovision crowd at the Rathaus Eurovision Village waving an Aussie Eurovision scarf was absolutely amazing and something I am never going to forget.

Top tips

A lot of my tips are dispersed in my other answers!

  • But just in general don’t be afraid to go to events or travel by yourself, it’s very easy to meet people and Europe in general is pretty safe.
  • Try to say yes to as many things as possible – but at the same time just be aware of your own limits and if you do need a day at home to catch up on TV and read a book do what you need and don’t feel guilty!

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