My name is Noemi Lanz and I am studying tourism at FHGR. I was able to spend my third semester in Vienna at FHWien, where I had the best 5 months imaginable!
Even though Austria might be similar to Switzerland, I do not regret choosing Vienna at all. To live in a 2 Mio. city was an amazing experience. There are countless things to do and you will never get bored of the city! Especially if you like visiting museums and hanging out in cafés then Vienna is the place to be.
Moreover, living abroad was an opportunity I am so happy to have taken. I met so many people from all over the world and became more independent. During this time I learned a lot in my courses but what is even more valuable in my opinion is how much I learned about myself! Also, I believe in the tourism industry it will have a positive impact on my future.
Before arriving to Vienna, I already chose all my courses. Changing these would have been possible, however I did not do so. My choice was the ISP 2 package consisting of international management courses held specifically for incoming students. In order to achieve 30 ECTS I supplemented the package with the course “Current Topics in Tourism”, this module was with the regular tourism class of FH Wien. Whilst the tourism course was the most interesting one, it was also the most challenging one, despite consisting of less ECTS than the others. The other courses were rather easy compared to the ones at home. Most of them only took place from September to November, leaving me with a lot of free time to enjoy at the end of the semester. I definitely recommend taking the CIEM courses for incoming students as it was way easier to make friends in these classes.
The lecturers were international as well. For instance, I had teachers from Australia, Chile, and Canada. The teaching style was similar to FHGR, however we had far less exams and many more projects and presentations. The teachers could choose when their final was themselves, therefore we did not have all exams at the end but distributed all over the semester.
During my stay I lived in the OeAD guesthouse Sechshauserstrasse in a single appartement. The neighborhood might not be as pretty as other districts in Vienna, however it was in a great location as the U6, U4 and a bus to Burgring are all within walking distance. Most of my friends lived in OeAD dorms all over Vienna. Although I enjoyed my accommodation, looking back I would have preferred a place in the 6th, 7th, 8th, or 9th district, simply because they look nicer.
The ESN network in Vienna and from FHWien was remarkable. During the orientation week they organized events every single day. I met most of my friends during those events and recommend everyone attends them. Over the semester I did not go to all of the other events, but there were many trips and parties organized, sometimes just for our university and sometimes for all ESN Vienna or even all ESN Austria.
Regarding the city itself I completely agree with all the rankings that state Vienna as the most livable city in the world. There is an overall relaxed vibe and there are many places where you can unwind but on the other hand there are many exciting things such as the "Prater", clubs and so on. One of my favorite things is the so called “Wiener Kaffeehaus-Kultur”: it is really common to stay in a café for many hours and study, read or chat to your friends (and if you can only afford to order one single drink, they won’t send you away). The only downside is that waiters tend to be quite unfriendly, however I didn’t particularly mind.
If I had to choose the highlights from my semester abroad it would be the friendships I was able to make and the trips we made. Together with my friends I went on weekend trips to Budapest, Prague, Bratislava and a road trip through Austria. These destinations are all close to Vienna and with Flixbus it was really affordable and convenient to get there.