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My semesters abroad in Villach – Matthew Bio

A semester abroad does not only mean to study in another country, it has many advantages: you experience a foreign and new culture, improve your social skills and make new friends. With the study abroad experiences from our students from foreign countries you can get a glimpse of what life and studying is at Carinthia University of Applied Sciences.

Matthew Bio from Ghana and scholarship holder of the Ernst Mach Grant for students from non-European countries spent two semesters 2021 at Campus Villach, studying “Integrated Systems and Circuits Design” – here’s what he’s saying about his experience.


 

 

 

 

 

 


What did you expect before coming to Austria?
I honestly didn’t know what to expect before coming to Austria. This is probably because I didn’t know much about the people, culture, and geography. The only thing I knew was that Austria was in Europe and after researching a little I got to know the language spoken here and that Austria shared borders with Germany and Italy.


What surprised you here?
It was a spectacle to see all the mountains that surrounded the city as I rode on the train from Vienna Airport to Villach. I felt a bit unsettled when I first got here seeing that it’s the first time I’ve travelled so far from home and being surrounded by people who looked different and spoke a different language than I could understand. It didn’t take long though for my worries to subside once I started interacting with the people around. Between asking for directions to the train stop and also which train to board and talking to people I come across daily, I have come to realise how friendly and accommodating people here are. This has made me feel right at home.


How do you cope with the studies at CUAS? Was it challenging for you and if yes in what way?
Because of the COVID pandemic my scholarship got postponed. This means I had to join Carinthia University of Applied Sciences (CUAS) during the 2nd semester. Unfortunately for me most of the courses in semester 2 in my department have prerequisites from semester 1, this meant that I had to drop some of the courses I initially registered for. It also meant I had a lot of catching up to do to familiarize myself with the workflow and tool-sets which had recently been moved to an online-only environment. It has been more challenging than I expected but that was to be expected giving the current state of affairs. On the bright side I’ve had course mates reach out to me offering to help me pick up the pace and I’ve also had access to resources to help me in my studies.


How do you get to know Austria in your free time?
I was fortunate enough to be paired with a buddy who showed me around Villach when I came to Austria. I was also able to secure a bicycle from the International Relations Office and because of that I’m often able to move around to visit some places of interest and landmarks. I’ve also rode on the train to Klagenfurt and toured the place bit. In addition, I sometime take treks to admire the scenery and architecture which I find pretty unique.


Would you come to Austria without the Scholarship Program?

In my initial thought comparing the cost of education and living here in Austria to Ghana I concluded that it’ll have been unfeasible and impractical for me to travel to Austria to study without a scholarship. However, given what I know now, I’ll definitely consider coming to Austria without the scholarship program. I admit the initial cost could be a limiting factor for me but the benefits of having an education of much higher quality, internship and work opportunities with companies that come with practical experience, as well as a higher quality-of-life far outweighs the cost of investment for coming to Austria.


How did you find out about Ernst Mach Scholarship?
I heard about the Ernst Mach Scholarship from some colleagues of mine who were already on the program, by then I was in the first year of my master’s degree program at my home university. They asked if I would be interested in in an exchange program at Carinthia University of Applied Sciences and I said yes. After that, I got in touch with the International Relations Office at and submitted an application.

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