- Annika Meyer (Australia)
- Maxi Schicho (Sweden)
- Charlotte Collard (Spain)
- Anastasia Buyzhina (Norway)
- Caroline Rucht (Cyprus)
I currently spend my sixth semester at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) in Australia. As the name implies, the university is located on the Sunshine Coast in a small town called Sippy Downs. The campus is located in a nature reserve, so on the way to the university I am joined by kangaroos, which makes me happy every day. At the USC we are studying with many international students and next to our academic studies we enjoy life at the Sunshine Coast! Buses to Mooloolaba leave regularly from the bus station of the university. Mooloolaba has a beautiful beach where you can spend study breaks, enjoy the beautiful weather or just stroll along the promenade, have a look at the small shops and enjoy good food in a variety of restaurants and cafés. Brisbane is just an hour away by car. The capital of Queensland is a vibrant city with more than two million inhabitants. The neighbouring area around Sippy Dows has a lot to offer as well, such as the Glasshouse Mountains, the pretty coast town Noosa or the beautiful Hinterland.
The tropical landscape is very diverse and offers new and exotic things to discover. The USC was founded in 1996. With about 6.500 students it is one of the most modern universities and a high academic level in the booming part of Australia.
The biggest difference to the German university is that most of the courses have three exams or assignments during the semester, this means you always have to study or write an assignment. The professors are open and helpful at all times and there are many further options to get support as a student.
So, if you like to go to the beach to recover from learning and enjoy the warming sun in an exotic environment, the USC is the right place for you. I warmly recommend it.
My semester abroad at the University "Högskolan Dalarna"
I had the honour and pleasure of spending my semester abroad in Sweden. My host university "Högskolan Dalarna" is located in the Dalarna region in a small town called Borlänge surrounded by beautiful nature. The university, with a second location in the neighbouring town Falun, has a pleasant size and you can easily find your way around. The atmosphere is very familiar, every problem is taken seriously and help is provided when needed. The registration process is a bit laborious, but the well-described homepage of the university makes it manageable. The university is close to the city centre, which makes almost every wish come true. Borlänge offers many possibilities for skiing or sledging.
The winter in Sweden can be relatively long, thus I had snow until the end of April. In this time, I could collect many lasting memories, as for example a Husky tour or a short trip with friends into the snowy north to Kiruna. However, it is wonderful when everything starts to bloom slowly at the end of April and the long awaited spring or summer comes to Sweden. We had a lot of barbecues and due to the fact that the sun sets very late in Sweden from May onwards and rises again very early, it was possible to spend many hours outside with friends. Borlänge is not a city that offers many possibilities for going out, but it is very diverse from the activities in the nature. Many international students study at the university in Borlänge, so you can get in touch very quickly. Those who enjoy long and snowy winters, love activities in nature and would like to get to know the Scandinavian region better I can warmly recommend the Högskolan Dalarna in Borlänge or Falun.
For my internship semester, I decided to go abroad, in order to not only gain professional experience but also experience another culture. As I wanted to stay in central Europe but still discover a substantially different work environment, I decided to go to Barcelona. After a first bad experience in a consulting company, I started to work for a company working in the tourism industry. Although I firstly thought of it as an emergency solution, it then ended being the right company for me. Hence, I was involved in many different business processes and could work independently. All in all, although I could not imagine myself working in Spain forever, as of the working conditions offered, I learned much about the culture as well as its work environment and acquired many skills which will be useful in the future.
How Anastasia met Oslo
Hey y'all! Now it is my seventh semester at Stralsund University of Applied Sciences and I am doing my internship semester at MAN Truck & Bus Norge AS located in Oslo (Norway).
Oslo is the capital of Norway, but it is quite small, only around 700,000 people live here. However, it is still very international; there is variety of different people from different countries you can meet. Mostly you can hear American English and German here. And, as everyone knows, almost every Norwegian speaks English... and it does not really help to improve my Norwegian, but still it is nice to know if I am lost somewhere, I can ask anyone, and they will answer in perfect English.
About the internship – a very friendly environment: interns are very independent, have their own tasks, and no one is looking over their shoulder; the organization is flat, no obvious hierarchy, which we had all already learned at our Intercultural Management lectures -> Hofstede was not wrong about it. The office is very comfortable and nice; there is also a canteen with different dishes every day and open salad bar.
My area of responsibilities is preparing ad-hoc reports on selected processes of the order and sales offices. The reports are the basis for the strategic management work, which means I assist in collecting information that is valuable for further executive decisions. Apart from that, I do a lot of logistics and sales related activities, mostly dedicated to tax questions. My favorite task is keeping in touch with MAN - service offices all over Norway and informing them on upcoming required service they have to do for their customers. When I have time, I check the MAN-intranet for updates and useful materials, and MAN has a lot to offer, especially on change management and innovations. I would say that now I have a very fulfilled life, work-life balance is totally in place: I work from 8 am till 4 pm, after that I have time and energy to be socially active, do sports, and spend time with my new Norwegian friends.
My life outside of work is pretty active too - I joined a student movie club “Cinema Neuf”, there I am now an active member (doing marketing and PR), we usually do screenings of independent Norwegian movies and organize some fraternity parties. Because all team members are Norwegians, I do indeed practice a lot of Norwegian there (start forgetting Swedish instead), and very happy to be around them because it is the most accepting bunch of people I ever met, and they always share with me a lot of interesting facts about Norway, for example, that school kids, who do not attend church, have some kind of their own confirmation, and it is very interesting - they have to spend 24 hours as refugees – it means they are all brought to the forest for 24 hours in November, with one hand full of rice, some warm clothes, a sleeping bag but no tent. This experience shows them what refugees go through (even police chases them time to time during those 24 hours). I do not think I would read things like that in a guide book.
Also, I decided to join Norwegian courses, just to have more opportunities to dive into the Norwegian culture. Because Norway works very hard on integrating internationals into the society (at least it is my feeling here), there are some affordable courses at the job center. Besides from that, I usually travel on weekends, go hiking, attend concerts (there is a vibrant underground scene) or just do touristic things in Oslo. There is always something interesting happening!
What I have learned so far:
- Locals are very nice and friendly
- So much private space, even on public transport
- Hiking is even more serious than in Germany
- German bread is still the best (sorry Norway)
- You need no cash at all, everything can be paid with a card
- Digitalization is everywhere
- Access to different types and shapes of liquorice.
Finally, my personal peaks in Oslo:
What to eat:
- Smågodt (Bulk confectionery) – you just need to try it!
- Brynost (Brown cheese) – have to try: you will love it or hate it from the first try
What to visit:
- The Vigeland park – the park is full of various sculptures which explore the humanity in its’ different forms.
- Inner fjords of Oslo – if you don’t have a chance to see other fjords, those ones will work too
- Opera House – it is an enormous building which looks like an iceberg.
- Mathallen Food Hall – the indoor food market with a lot of different food from different countries
- Østmarka – very short hiking near Oslo.
Where to go:
- Blitz – if you want to have a real local experience, and you enjoy (not scared of) the underground scene
- Kulturhuset – just a lace to chill, there is very different music all the time, as well as interesting lectures.
I never thought I would do my internship in Norway, but now I recommend it to everyone: if you want to experience a very welcoming atmosphere in relatively small Northern European capital – go to Oslo!
At the moment I am doing an exchange semester at the University of Nicosia (UNIC) in Nicosia - the last split capital city.
Before the introduction week, there was an English course, which I took. It did not really need it, but I got to know many Cypriots. They are very caring and friendly. It is easy to get to know them, and they are happy to show you their country. In the first week of semesters, the UNIC offers an introduction week, which is free for students. We were offered excursions, parties and many other events. In addition, the UNIC has a lot of sports and social clubs, e.g. the diving club that I joined.
The professors are very understanding and easy to approach. Even though there are a lot of assignments and projects, there is enough time to travel at the weekends. For me, this is the best part of the exchange semester. I saw wonderful places at the sea side and old amphitheatres as I travelled around the island. I can truly understand why Cyprus is called the island where the gods have their vacation.