Much time hadn’t passed between my unforgettable international experience as a Global UGRADer, and when I was granted a new scholarship for an exchange year in Austria. The organization that I’m thankful to is similar to that of World Learning, but it’s called OeAD and operates in Austria. OeAD is Austria’s main organization for international mobility and cooperation programs in education, science and research in Europe and worldwide. It has existed for more than half a century and obtains 50 million in funds available for a number of scholarships. My scholarship program is called Ernst Mach grant for internationals to study, research and lecture in Austria. However, I could not have applied for it unless my home university wasn’t a partner of a specific Austrian university.
I started my application even before my Global UGRAD journey in spring 2017. Luckily, after an intense competition (which is always the case with scholarship applications) me and two other women from my home university were awarded Ernst Mach scholarships. Since mid-September 2017 I have been studying at the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Steyr School of Management. The name tells you that it focuses rather on practical knowledge, which drives my interest in almost all the courses that I take. The majority of professors are managers and heads of local and international companies, mostly in the automotive industry. I have enjoyed my studies a lot so far.
I like that since my Global UGRAD exchange semester, the world has opened up to me more and more. Living in a different environment helps to understand the local culture, especially its values. Honestly, perhaps it was just words for me before, since I had never been abroad, but now I understand that when you are inside the system you see the difference from your own culture. After unavoidable culture shocks you learn how to adapt. I am convinced that culture is something indescribable by words, social media, or even TV travel shows. You just need to have time to experience the environment, and then you start to love the people your are living beside, realizing that they are actually the same as you.
Written by Aleksandr Kinyakin, Turmenistan, Global UGRAD 2016-17 at Juniata College