Moving Abroad: Adaptation and Difficulties at the Start of a Foreign Student
Nervous Time at Home
When you have already prepared all the documents, packed all your things in suitcases and boxes, sitting at home worrying about your future this is exactly the moment when your journey begins, at least for me it was. It's terrifying and at the same time satisfying, because you don't know what exactly is waiting for you there. But believe me, this is the time in your life you will never forget! So don’t worry and take this first step into your new life.
Arrival and First Impressions
The first few days upon my arrival were a blur, because everything was scheduled by the minute. Railway transport in Austria is well established, so I went straight from Vienna airport to Leoben. I didn't speak German at all, so I was very worried, but what struck me were the people around me, as for a very big part almost everybody was fluent in English. I had no problem buying train tickets, ordering something to eat at the café, checking in at the hostel or buying groceries at the supermarket, everywhere everyone spoke English, the people around me seemed so friendly and helpful, and I felt right away more calm and happier. I originally came to Montanuniversität as an exchange student, but I think everyone starts out the same way: getting to know a new environment, culture, people, university professors and system. For me, the most difficult thing was to adapt to the new educational system, because it is radically different compared to the Russian one.
I didn't know that studying could be so free, interesting, and based on practice and more towards the student's own interests. Of course, there is also a structured plan for the semesters and subjects that a student must pass to get a diploma, but in comparison with the rigid Russian system, everything seemed very free to me. BUT!! Do not forget to register for the courses and exams, because in this system this is required. You are not registered automatically at the beginning of the semester to any courses. Now, that I’m already studying in my regular bachelor's degree, it happened that I missed a deadline for registering and then I had to pray that there was still a free seat and a friendly secretary who would still register me 😊.
Locals and their Language
I met a lot of the locals during my exchange semester, and they were all happy to speak English to me (just like me haha). Also, thanks to the Ambassador Programme at MIRO, I met a huge number of students on Instagram, and thanks to my foreign friends, I also met international students at Montanuni. I very often come across statements on the internet that Austrians are by nature "not friendly", "cold" and “they will never want to build friendship with foreigners”, but in my experience everything turned out to be wrong. If you are in the opposite situation, and all the locals are "angry and cold" to you, then I advise you not to turn away from them, but to take the initiative and get acquainted with your colleagues at university or work. They are all very responsive people and will be very curious about you (where you are from, what you do in your free time, etc.) Now I have a lot of Austrian friends and they are all wonderful, kind, smiling and sympathetic people. Although of course the difference in our cultures is noticeable, but it only brings some jokes and a lot of things to laugh about.
With the language, everything is different! The Austrian dialect for me is a completely different language, and not really German, which you will initially learn when moving to Austria. 😉 Here’s a tip from me: According to my observations, if you want to pretend that you speak this dialect, then you need to replace "a" in a word with the letter "o", and also "eat " the endings of words.
Enjoy one of the most interesting times of your journey through student life and if you have some question don’t hesitate to contact me!