Six months in Vienna

Applications for Semester Two 2018 exchanges are due Friday 1 September. Please refer to our website for more information.

Sophie Hale spent 6 months on an exchange at the Vienna University of Business and Economics in Austria while studying towards her Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences and Economics. She shares with us her motivations, opportunities and memories from Vienna.

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What motivated you to go on exchange?
I was inspired to go on exchange from working as a mentor for incoming international students as well as a student leader at UC International Welcome days. I met and befriended so many incredible people through doing this, all of whom had such a thirst for life and adventure as they knew their semester in New Zealand would go fast but be full of incredible opportunities! Their energy was infectious and I wanted to have an experience like that of my own! In fact I was hugely thankful that one of the incoming exchange students that I mentored the year before my exchange became a good friend of mine and when I arrived in Vienna, she picked me up from the airport and helped settle me in. These connections take you everywhere!

What advice would you give to someone considering going on exchange?
If you’re even slightly considering going on exchange, my advice would be to start researching early! Talk to course advisors and the International Mobility team, because fitting an exchange semester in (if you still want to complete your degree in the number of years you intended) can take strategic course enrolment. It’s important to do a lot of research into the courses available at the universities you are considering applying for – because ideally everything will cross credit back to your UC degree!

What was the most memorable event or experience from your exchange?

  • Joining my fellow exchange students for ten weeks of waltzing classes and then waltzing the night away at my university’s ball in the 700-year-old Hofburg palace!
  • Playing Quidditch competitively for Austria against other European countries and training for 10 hours a week (sometimes in the snow!)
  • Experiencing winter Christmas – for Vienna that means a multitude of amazing Christmas markets with hot mulled wine and crafts, as well as ice-skating outside City Hall (they turn the entire front courtyard into a massive rink for a whole month in winter!).

I can say without the slightest inkling of doubt that my exchange semester – my six and a half months in Vienna – were the best of my life, and despite the hoops I had to jump through to get there I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything and I don’t want to imagine my life now had I not gone. It is really that transformative! Every day of your exchange is so precious (because the time goes so fast!), and it is a beautiful thing to proudly say you’re a Kiwi and share with new friends how amazing this country is that we call home.

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