Ever wondered what it is like to study abroad for a semester or two? Or are you thinking about studying at one of EBS’ partner universities? To make the decision a little easier for you, we are teaming up with EBS students that are currently on exchange or have recently returned. They will give you an insight into their lives abroad, their host university and some practical information you might find useful.
We’ll start this series off with the lovely Liisa Maide, who is currently in Vienna, Austria studying at WU Wien – Vienna University of Economics & Business.
- Describe a typical student day at WU
Throughout my time in Vienna I haven’t had a single typical university day. Every day is different. Since WU lets you choose between semester long courses and short intense courses, you may have weeks without having any lectures, while other times you may find yourself going to a lecture on a Saturday.
- How does EBS differ from WU?
EBS differs greatly from WU, beginning with the university size and ending with the way the university is run. Vienna University of Business & Economics has around 450 exchange students, in addition to thousands of regular students. The choice of subjects is also a lot bigger.
- What is the most important thing your time abroad has taught you and what is your favorite part of it?
I believe the most important thing my exchange year has taught me is the ability to value Estonia and everything my home country offers me. For example that it is completely ok to visit a grocery store at 10pm on a workday and that you can do all of your paperwork in five minutes without leaving home. I’ve also learnt a lot about myself, how I can cope with and solve different problems and about my strengths and weaknesses. One big thing I love about living abroad is the enormous international family that surrounds me, the people I’ve met during my stay here and whom I’ll most definitely see again in the future.
- What is your favorite memory so far?
I’ve got many great memories about this place and it’s hard to highlight a specific one, however I’ll do my best to recall some. The trips organised by our university’s buddy network have undoubtedly been the nicest. The two most notable ones were driving to the Oktoberfest in a Donald Duck train and the skiing trip to the Alps. I also enjoyed the time we spontaneously visited the Vienna State Opera for 3€ and weeks before that we had found ourselves at the university’s ball in the Hofburg Palace, as if we were in a great Disney princess movie.
- What did you miss the most about Estonia? And what will you miss most about your host country?
Dark bread! No, but actually the people dearest to me, my family and friends. As for Austria, I think I’ll miss its gorgeous nature, cosy cafes, fun nightlife and the way the public transport system works!
- How is the system there?
I could write a book when it comes to this. Unlike at EBS, every student has to create their own timetable. Enrolling in courses is as nerve-wrecking as the Hunger Games and you most likely won’t get into all the subjects you chose before leaving EBS. But the study consultants come to play when it comes to individual problems and they try to help.
- Flexibility at WU:
WU is a really student friendly university. They always go out of their way to help when there are any problems with certain subjects or when you need to choose a subject exchange students don’t usually get to choose.
I live in a dorm here, but I’m renting my own studio apartment with a kitchen and balcony at the dorm. When considering coming to Vienna as an exchange student, I’d recommend the dorm option, since most of the students live here and that’s the place you’ll get your first new connections. All the students get an email with all the necessary information and links before the semester starts.
- Living costs:
Living in Vienna is fairly costly, so you should have an extra 400€ per month in addition to the money that is spent on rent. Since eating out once or twice a week is part of the culture here, food makes up the biggest part of my expenses.
- Is there any Buddy system?
The buddy system is amazing! I’ve never seen a network working so well in a university before. Before the semester, everyone receives an email about what’s going to happen, where it’s going to happen and when it’s going to happen. In addition, every student can have a tutor who helps them throughout the semester, when needed. The whole team is always there, always ready and always on guard.
- Did you find enough courses to transfer to EBS?
Since WU has so many different subjects, I didn’t find it difficult to match them up with my EBS ones. The only one I couldn’t find a substitute for was the English grammar course.
We hope Liisa’s experience has inspired you and possibly made your decision about going abroad a little easier.
If you got curious and have any questions, Liisa is happy to answer them. Just send her an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Translator: Henry Ševtšenko
Editor: Lisette Lindhardt-Jespersen