Innsbruck: a month that’s changed my life

In January 2019, I packed my bags and headed to Europe. I was going to Innsbruck, Austria, to study their Engineering and Business Winter Program. The feeling was unnerving but exhilarating. As my travels started, the excitement grew, and as soon as I got to Innsbruck, I knew I could see myself living here.

Beautiful architecture, water ways and mountains, everywhere you look in Innsbruck.

Innsbruck is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. The buildings are riddled with culture and history; the food is phenomenal and the people are lovely. Austrian culture is extremely friendly, yet professional; so it was very comforting as a young solo traveller to be welcomed into a culture that felt very safe and supportive.

Innsbruck itself is really small, but has literally everything you need; which gives a really intimate, safe and inclusive feeling. Everything is within walking distance and the scenery is phenomenal. I would have to allow an extra 15 minutes walking everywhere, because I always stopped to take photos of the mountains.

Standing at the top of one of the buildings in the main street, overlooking the main town and the views of the mountains.

Geographically speaking, Innsbruck is in an amazing location, where the other students and I were able to travel together to Germany, Switzerland, Italy and the rest of Austria, on weekends. So not only was I able to experience living in a beautiful European town, but I was able to experience other cultures and countries; from villages in the mountains to major cities.

Studying at the Management Center Innsbruck

The study program was really well structured and a fantastic learning experience. There was a small group of us from around the world participating in this program, and the staff were really organised in making sure we were well acquainted. So we became very close, which has given me a global network now.

Each week we had a different subject, which worked really well with the structure of the program. One of my favourite things was that each subject was taught by a different expert from around the world; so you were taught by very knowledgeable and engaging staff with a lot of global experience.

I studied entrepreneurship, innovation and start up subjects; which was an amazing opportunity to develop and further any ideas I have of my own. As well as develop my business knowledge. I also studied Biotech Product Operations, which was fantastic for me as a Biomedical Engineering student. At UTS, we learn about global processes and standards/regulations; but to be in Europe and seeing these processes first hand, was a very different, beneficial learning experience.

I enjoyed my experience at the Management Center of Innsbruck so much, and was sad to leave; but I know I will be back one day. I have developed so much as a person, and have a new appreciation of the world. If ever given this opportunity, I highly recommend you do it too!

-Louise

Shanghai University SILC Summer School Summer 2017

Shanghai, is a multifaceted city; a mixture of traditional and modern, and a mixture of Asian and Western culture. The Shanghai University SILC program was the perfect introduction to this enchanting city. The business classes, culture classes, Mandarin classes, tours and free time were all excellent but my favourite part of the program was the company I had. Shanghai University is extremely accommodating, especially the staff members and student volunteers (mentors). Even before I landed in China, I felt welcomed by Shanghai University through our interactions via email and of course, Wechat. My fellow peers from UTS were of course the highlight of the program for me. All the UTS students on the program (all females coincidentally) quickly bonded and we had a great time exploring the city together.

On the weekdays, we would have Mandarin language classes with Fairy, business lectures with different lecturers on their specialised area of teaching, various cultural classes such as traditional Chinese music and tea ceremony, and tours around different areas of the city. The rest of the time after class and on weekends, we had to ourselves to do whatever we wished. We really enjoyed the nightlife over there although some nights we did stay in for “Chinese TV and chill” just to unwind, play games and get to know each other better.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe traditional Chinese gardens and architecture were amazing to look at. It was simultaneously relaxing and exciting to explore. I also enjoyed interacting with the locals. We all had a great time using the Mandarin we learnt but when all else fails, there is always body language and pointing. 

The cool weather in Shanghai was a sweet relief in contrast to Sydney’s blazing heat. Although I did miss Sydney’s fresh air. Being over there made me grateful (not for the first time) for being able to live in a country where I have access to clean air and water. The differences in culture, language and lifestyles were interesting to observe and appreciate.

I was initially apprehensive that two weeks would be too short a time to explore such an exciting city but it was the perfect amount of time. It was sufficient enough for me to do the things I wanted to do but left me slightly wanting more. It was a good taster for the city. I will definitely visit again in the future where I will no doubt look back on this experience with amazing friends that I would never have met otherwise. I definitely recommend this program (or any other overseas opportunity) to fellow BUILD members.

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 By Theresa Duong