Management Centre Innsbruck (MCI) Winter School 2017

In February I travelled to Innsbruck, a small mountain city located in the western part of Austria. While I was there, I participated in the winter school program organised by Management Centre Innsbruck (MCI). MCI is a relatively young university which focuses on practical learning with a modern approach. Over the course of three weeks I completed 3 different subjects, Business Ethics, Renewable Energy and Water Pollution Control.

RIver Inn, InnsbruckColourful houses of Innsbruck and the river Inn.

Although I only spent a short time at MCI, the amount of theoretical knowledge and practical skills I gained was phenomenal. As a part of Business Ethics, we learnt different ethical theories and how to deal with ethical dilemmas in the workplace, an essential skill for any professional. Through Water Pollution Control, we learnt about treatment methods of drinking and sewerage water, urban drainage design and membrane technology.

Furthermore, in Renewable Energy, we discussed methods of generating clean energy and developed renewable energy concept plans for different cities around the world. Laboratory classes and an excursion to the local water treatment plant allowed us to reinforce knowledge learnt in the classroom and experience it in real life applications.

Another exciting aspect of the winter school program was the opportunity to meet students from all over the world. There were students from countries including Italy, Turkey, Taiwan, Malaysia, Mexico, Canada, Russia, Germany, Switzerland, Finland and Austria. It was fun working on group projects with them and learning about their different cultures.

It was not all study and classes though, we still had the weekends off and one/two days off during the week. During my days off I explored Innsbruck with my new friends and went on many day trips. We visited Munich, the capital of Bavaria, Salzburg, the city in which Mozart was born, the lakeside village of Hallstatt and Mittenwald, a small picturesque town located on the border of Germany and Austria. Some pictures from these trips have been included below.

Rauschbrunnen - Alpine RestaurantSpent two hours hiking up the mountain to reach this alpine restaurant, only to find out it was closed.SalzburgA view of Salzburg’s old town from the Hohensalzburg FortressLake Lautersee, MittenwaldLake Lautersee in Mittenwald GermanyHallstatt VillageHallstatt Village. Had to catch four different trains and a ferry, a total of 5 hours traveling, to reach this small lakeside village. It was worth every minute!Nordkette Mountain PeakView from the peak of the Nordkette Mountain in Innsbruck.

Orientation Group PhotoGroup photo after orientation on the first day.

Being able to experience Austrian food and culture was also a big highlight of my trip. Simple foods such as bread were so much better, with many different varieties available at the local bakery. Desserts were also amazing, especially the traditional sacher cake and apple strudel. Main dishes were hearty and filling, with one of my favourites being Käsespätzle, a dish consisting of home-made egg noodles with melted cheese and caramelised onions.

Overall, the winter school program was one of the best experiences of my life. I made countless new friends, learnt so many interesting concepts, experienced Austrian culture and explored numerous cities, towns and villages. I would also like to extend my thanks and gratitude to the UTS BUiLD team and MCI International Office for providing me the opportunity to participate in this program and all the hard work and effort they put in to ensure the program ran smoothly.

Muhammad Ayub

Bachelor of Engineering (Civil Construction)

Lausanne – A taste of family life

This past February I went to Switzerland, to the town of Lausanne to study French for three weeks. While the classes were greatly beneficial, albeit quite difficult for me, the more memorable experience was the lifestyle I had while living there. I was lucky enough to meet a family – through my Aunt – who live about twenty minutes outside the city centre so I stayed with them for the three weeks I was there.

The Dad is dutch and the Mum is French so it probably wasn’t what you would call a typical Swiss experience, but it was lovely nonetheless. The three kids were aged 5, 11 and 12 and it was these three that really made the time so enjoyable for me.

Alyssa – the youngest – was studying ancient Egypt at the time, and she goes to an international school so in the afternoons I would help her with her presentation. We had so much fun learning about Tutankhamun and his tomb. She also showed me her skills in ballet. They pronounce the ‘t’ because they think it is how you say it in English, I tried to teach them that we use a lot of French words and so we pronounce them the same, but Alyssa couldn’t get her head around that idea.
Sarah, the eleven-year-old, was the first of the children I met. The day I arrived the other kids were away for the weekend so Sarah and I had lots of fun playing with her rabbits and going down the hill on their fancy BMW-branded sledge. Unfortunately, I was too heavy for the sledge and we lost control and hit a tree, breaking it completely, not a great start to my stay.
The oldest child, Tim, was a very much a boy. Always playing tricks on his sisters and parents and always keen for a wrestle. We had fun walking to his school one day and just having a chat.

Being the youngest child of four, I never had younger kids around me when I was growing up, so I never experienced the joy of being proud of younger siblings. My trip definitely changed this for me, though. I came away with a new family and three younger brothers and sisters.

I went to Switzerland hoping to improve my French and have a nice time away from the normal routine. And I certainly experienced both of those things. But the time I spent with my new family is a time I will never forget.

Matt van Geldermalsen

Nouvelle Calédonie – Summer 2016

Université de la Nouvelle Calédonie – Daniel Viglione – Summer 2016

In early November 2016 I had the opportunity to go on a three-week intensive language and cultural study program in New Caledonia. As a part of my trip I stayed at the Université de la Nouvelle Calédonie, whilst taking daily language and culture classes as well as regular trips to explore the unique island culture of New Caledonia.

Being my first visit to New Caledonia, I was unsure what to expect. I had previously visited France on an exchange during high school so I had gained some knowledge of European French culture, though this was very different to the nuanced island culture which I experienced. Upon arrival to the small island nation, the people were extremely welcoming and kind, noticing my apprehension they helped me in any way possible allowing me to speak as much French as I could.

UNC Campus

After settling in and beginning classes I noticed that there was a much closer relationship between teachers and students than I had previously experienced. By having daily classes and lectures with these teachers we slowly came to know them as friends, which improved our language skills immensely. This trip also gave me an invaluable opportunity to experience university as a foreign student living on campus. Every week the group would do routine activities together like going to the supermarket, navigating the somewhat foreign foods, befriending the local delicatessen and bakery, and immersing ourselves in the local day to day culture.

Phare Amedee

Every week we would venture further out of Noumea visiting places such as the Parc de la Riviere Bleue, where we cycled through a rainstorm in a rain forest, then swimming in the freshwater river as the pouring rain fell. We also had the opportunity to reinvestigate our understanding of Eurocentric French culture, researching the impacts of colonialism on the indigenous culture of the island, seeing many similarities to Australian colonial history.

As a weekly part of our course we also participated in a “treasure hunt”, where we had to speak with local people and find culturally significant sites around Noumea in the various regions of the city. Running through the city and speaking to the locals as we tried to win the race was an amazing experience and allowed us to open up further to the New Caledonian culture and embrace our surroundings.

Anse Vata

This was a truly once in a lifetime experience. The people I encountered and the friends that I made were some of the most genuinely kind and hospitable people I have ever met. This experience truly allowed me to reflect on my own university experience and on Australian culture, demonstrating the ever-changing nature of national culture and cultural identity.


Daniel Viglione – Bachelor of Design in Architecture