Drohobych University students share fresh impressions of study in Austria

Greetings to all who read these lines! We are students who study German at the Faculty of Ukrainian and Foreign Philology, We have spent four months’ training at the Pedagogical Institute of Styria (Graz, Austria) and have just returned home.
And we want to share our impressions with you! At the end of May last year we received an offer to try our strength, knowledge and opportunities to study abroad in the Erasmus+ academic exchange program. We immediately agreed because we understood well that this was an opportunity not to be missed since the whole semester abroad allows you to communicate with international students, learn about the host country as well as the countries of your fellow students .This is an invaluable experience, thanks to which you become more responsible, self-confident and can test your luck.
The course started at the beginning of October 2022. First, we had a meeting with the coordinator, who introduced us to the teaching staff and groupmates. In order to get to know each other better and become one team, the coordinators organized a trip for us to the city of Brook, where we spent 3 days together. It was an incredible weekend with lots of delicious food, fun games, communication and group work.
We would like to emphasize that participation in the Erasmus+ program involves receiving a scholarship, which the student receives every month – approximately 800 euros. This amount should definitely be enough for you (when used rationally) to pay for the hostel, purchase food and hygiene products, as well as for leisure and travel.
As for the academic process itself, we noticed a rather big difference. First of all, we noted that there is almost no distance between teacher and student there. What’s more: teachers become your friends. These are highly qualified, intellectual, cheerful and sincere people who helped us in all situations, provided additional consultations, solved our problems, helped us with the choice of disciplines and gave advice even about non-academic life, for example, about choosing the best hospital.
All classes were held in English with the exception of the German course for exchange students. No less important was the training format, namely offline. This is really great because it is much better to interact with teachers and students in person than online. In general, at the Styrian institute, training is focused more on the practical format and projects, and the theory is left for students to study independently. The classes were in the form of practice which produced the desirable effect, even though it usually lasted 3 hours (as opposed to our 1.5). Another small difference is the flexible study schedule, that is, sometimes our classes started at 8:30 a.m., and sometimes at 5:00 p.m.
No less important for us was the practice period. Since this was our first practice, mind Austrian school!, so naturally, we felt extremely nervous. However, we had a wonderful supervisor who helped us during practice, advised us how to better keep the children’s attention in class and so on. Lessons went quietly, the children were active and disciplined,  most of them even told us what programs they used in class so we could develop something of our own too.
As for free time, the coordinators of our international program often arranged excursions, joint trips and just spending time together. So we were able to overcome the language barrier and even learn a few phrases in other languages!
And finally, we can conclude that the Erasmus+ program is a very fruitful experience. First of all, this is your chance for a promising future, this is an opportunity to improve your knowledge of foreign languages, this is getting to know a large number of people from all corners of the world, this is a representation of your country, and also – in this difficult period, when the war continues – this is an opportunity to tell the world the truth and  attract help from a variety of sources.
We advise every student not to miss such opportunities offered by life and to try something new. Academic exchange programs are an open door to the world, waiting for your decisive step to test your strength and capabilities.
Maria Kutsyk and Sofia Yosyfiv, students (group GE-45B)