Trying to do it all in Austria and Europe in just 5 months! July 20, 2017

By (Truman State University) - abroad from 02/06/2017 to 06/29/2017 with

ISEP Exchange: Graz - Exchange Program at Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was definitely worthwhile. First and foremost, I learned how to survive in a language which I didn't know. This developed my cultural sensitivity and communication skills. In addition, planning and leading trips all across Europe sharpened my leadership skills. I also developed more individuality and a sense of self, all very important life skills.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Compared to the United States educational system, Austria was much more relaxed and I was able to get by without doing much work. I realize this is probably different for non-exchange students, but having class once a week and most grades completely determined by an essay or test at the end contributed to a lack of urgency to study until the last month of the semester.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Everybody in the administration that I encountered was very helpful! It is very clear that they are used to the coming and going of international students and have a great system in place.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Not the best location, but it did the job.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I hung out with a lot of international students and only got to know a handful of Austrians well, but that was in part due to me only taking classes in English and not knowing German.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I never felt unsafe, just make sure to ask the locals what the places to avoid are.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

Graz was the perfect location to travel all around Europe, but also the perfect city to hang out in and enjoy the local culture. I just wish I knew German!

Finances

* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

I ran into a couple unexpected costs and had to deal with them as they came, but the scholarship I received really helped with my day-to-day expenses.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $75 or so
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Determine what your priorities are and don't be afraid to spend money on them. Most of us are only abroad once, so take advantage of opportunities as you can. Cut the spending on unnecessary things!

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? None
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Try to use it as much as possible where you are living. The best way to learn a language is to live in it and use it every day, so try your best to use it when you can!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Opportunity to meet people from across the world
  • Integration into host country city and culture
  • Events hosted by program
* What could be improved?
  • Help getting things figured out the first couple weeks
  • Being able to pick where I lived
  • German course prior to getting there
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It's important to know at least basic German in order to get around the first couple weeks. I took an intensive course to start my experience, but the first week or so when I needed to know German the most, I didn't know it.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.