Field reports

Back from the Erasmus year with a new view of Innsbruck

Songül wanted to get to know her parents' home country during her Erasmus year and came back with a new view of Innsbruck after stays in Istanbul and Athens. Learn more about Songül's two Erasmus stays in Turkey and Greece in this article.

Songül Athen

Erasmus+ in your parents' home country

Even as a child, I wanted to organise my studies internationally. This wish came true within the framework of the Erasmus+ programme and through the support of the University of Innsbruck. In my Bachelor's degree programme in "Education and Educational Science", I studied for a whole year with the Erasmus+ programme at Istanbul-Aydin University in Turkey, as I wanted to get to know my parents' home country better. This experience and living in a metropolis motivated me to plan further experiences abroad. Therefore, it was clear to me at the beginning of my Master's programme that I wanted to spend another whole year abroad.

Next Stop: Athens

I immediately decided on Greece in order to learn the Greek language on site. Although Greece is usually underestimated as a destination for an exchange year, the country offers a lot. The culture and history of the country make it an interesting place for a semester abroad. I visited a lot of museums, Greek concerts and went on excursions to other cities. The people were very friendly and tried to help whenever possible. In addition, the locals made an effort to teach me the basics of their language. In Athens, I met numerous artists and got to know interesting personalities. In Istanbul as well as in Piraeus, Athens I had the opportunity to study with many international students from Morocco, Lebanon, Syria, Tunisia, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Israel, South America and Ukraine.

Flexible & stress-resistant

Through the intercultural exchange, I was able to gain insights into the respective countries and cultures, learn to tolerate different lifestyles of others, build understanding towards other cultures, expand my ability to integrate and empathise with others. The exchange year taught me flexibility in dealing with stressful situations in which I had to persevere. Especially the preparation time, the search for accommodation and the preparation of the Learning Agreement enabled me to act independently. All the soft skills I built up are useful to me today in my everyday life and in my studies. What was interesting for me was the immersion in the academic life of the respective countries and writing academic papers in English. The support at the host university was very personal and the International Office was always available to answer questions. However, the bureaucracy in the South is much slower and somewhat more complicated than in Austria. Today, I appreciate some things more in Innsbruck that I took for granted before and my own view of certain things have changed.

Tips for prospective Erasmus students

I would advise future Erasmus participants to inform themselves about the destination country beforehand and to go where they can be happy, to organise accommodation before departure, to clarify the recognition of courses in advance, to be interested in the local language, to take advantage of every opportunity abroad to get in touch with people and to get to know different cultures.

Tips from Oslo for the start of the Erasmus year

Janina and Pia report on their start to the Erasmus year. After being overwhelmed at first, their adventure at Universitetet i Oslo turned into an unforgettable one. To help you get started on your Erasmus year, they sent us tips from Oslo.


Hello from Oslo, Norway.

We are sitting in one of our dorm rooms overlooking a cross-country ski trail and are a bit overwhelmed to write anything about the whole thing here, to sort out our memories and experiences and to pick out the most important things.

Maybe it has to be said first that the whole process sounds very difficult and you are a bit overwhelmed at first and don't know exactly what you have to or should do. But actually it's not that difficult. You get well guided over time and suddenly you're standing in your flat at home and you have to pack. Packing for half a year (in our case from January to July) in which so much will happen, in which you need so much, but can't take everything with you and have to leave some things at home.

All beginnings are difficult

Even when we arrived here, we were slightly overwhelmed. First of all, we had to find out where our university was, which building belonged to our faculty, get to know the underground, where to buy tickets, where the best supermarket was, how the washing machines worked, where university information was uploaded (Canvas and Studentweb - like everything here, these are also available as extra apps, as is the student card Studentbevis).

But somehow everything falls into place. There are also other ERASMUS students (most of the others are German - so there is no language barrier) with the same questions and problems. The Universitetet i Oslo also organised a Buddy Welcome Week right at the beginning with various activities where we could get to know the university, the city and the other internationals. And then our course started.

Our course turned out to be our biggest problem; due to the somewhat different system here, we only take two courses in our entire time. The first from January to April, with 20 ECTS, and the second from April to June, with 10 ECTS, which is still to come. The problem with our course was the somewhat chaotic organisation and the merging of the Bachelor course with the Master course. This meant that we were sometimes a bit overwhelmed, also with all the scientific English texts and the reflections of the others, some of whom had more background knowledge, experience and "smarter/superior" thoughts on the texts. But we were able to find our way around here too and are now coping well with the content and requirements of the course. We were also able to master our presentations and the writing of an Individual Written Report well.

Tips, tips, tips

A few tips that we can now share after our first few months:

  • Approximately one year to three quarters of a year before your semester abroad, start familiarising yourself with the ERASMUS system and possible destinations.
  • It is very advantageous to take care of housing quite early on
  • Pay attention to the start of the semester at the destination university, as there may be overlaps or how these will affect the further course of your studies (and if there are overlaps, look for solutions and get in touch with the course leaders as early as possible).
  • Think about crediting courses in advance and make sure you know which ones you will be taking in Innsbruck.
  • Pay attention to deadlines
  • Networking with other ERASMUS students

But don't worry: after you have applied, every step will be explained to you in detail and there are always contact persons at the International Relations Office, the ERASMUS representative of our faculty or now also us from the student council.

So let's go, it's definitely fun and worth the experience.

Janina Eisenrieder and Pia-Maria Lazzari.


Skiing, not only in Innsbruck - semester abroad in Japan

Hanna's semester abroad did not take place through the Erasmus programme, but through the Joint Study Programme. Japan is perhaps not the country you would classically imagine for your semester abroad, but Hanna chose it partly because of the culture and partly because of the JaPow (Japanese powder), which is supposed to be one of the best in the world.

Why Japan?

I really wanted to do a semester abroad during my Bachelor's degree. Preferably in a country with a different culture than ours in Austria. So I started researching the selection of partner universities at the University of Innsbruck. I came across the Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan and applied for it. Japan is perhaps not the country you would classically imagine for your semester abroad, but I chose it partly because of the culture and partly because of the JaPow (Japanese powder), which is supposed to be one of the best in the world. So I wanted to take the opportunity to do a few runs with my skis in Japan and test the JaPow. So I travelled to Japan with my luggage and my skis to study and ski.

Joint-Study Programme

Hanna's semester abroad was not through the Erasmus programme, but through the Joint-Study Programme. You have to apply, submit your documents by a certain deadline and complete at least 16 ECTS abroad.

Summer, sun, beach and sea and study? You can do all that with an Erasmus semester in Valencia.

Isabella started her Erasmus adventure in the summer semester of 2023. Besides summer, sun, beach and sea, Valencia also has great people to offer who enrich Isabella's semester abroad. She is already sad when she thinks that the semester will soon be over again.

Isabella's message to you:

Hello, my name is Isabella and I've been doing a semester abroad in Valencia since the end of January.

As soon as I arrived, I felt right at home. I have met an incredible number of lovely people with whom I am now spending my time here. I also get along very well with my flatmates and I am always amazed
I'm always amazed at how quickly it feels like home.

Besides university, we spend a lot of time at the beach, play volleyball and enjoy the beautiful weather. I like the city so much because it's not too big and it's easy to keep track of everything. It's also right by the sea and if you want to go hiking, you have lots of options.

I would generally recommend doing an Erasmus semester to anyone, and this city is a good place to do it.
a good place for it. I am already sad when I think that it will be over again in a few months. However, I will always remember this time.

Best regards from Valencia,

Yours, Isabella


Erasmus in Israel? Completely new perspectives?

During his Erasmus semester, Pauls actually wanted to get more involved in the topic of LGBTQ+ and learn about the Israeli perspective on the topic. However, things turned out quite differently and he now deals with different family forms and social structures. In addition to Tel Aviv, Paul's trip also took him to Demos, Bethlehem, and Masada (in the desert).

Israeli view on topics in educational science:

I originally wanted to delve more into the LGBTQ+ topic here and learn about the Israeli perspective on the topic. However, at the beginning I only had a course catalogue from summer semester 22 and the course was unfortunately no longer offered in summer semester 23.
Instead, I have now chosen the course "psychological challanges of Families", which does not directly cover my original choice, but is nevertheless very interesting, as we look more closely at the role models within the different family forms (nuclear, LGBTQ families, single parents,...), among other things.

Why is that interesting?

It is also exciting for me because we are looking at the different social structures within which there can again be differences, as is the case for example within the kibbutz (a collective settlement in which there is no private property) or in Jewish Orthodox families.

My Erasmus semester 2022 in Lecce:

An Erasmus semester in Lecce is a wonderful and exciting time - a time to enjoy Apulian specialities, to party extensively and to meet many new people from different cultures. But it can also be a time when you feel left alone with the chaotic Italian bureaucracy and despair of serenity.

Why Lecce?

Lecce is a small town on the Salento peninsula in Puglia (Italy) and is very dependent on tourism, which is why there is very little going on in March and April and many restaurants and shops are closed. The weather is also quite cool, windy and rainy in spring, but from mid-May this changes abruptly and with temperatures around 38° you wish for the cool weather again.

Living in Lecce is very cheap compared to Innsbruck, I paid around 270€ for my room and bathroom in a 2-person flat share. Food is also cheaper, you can get a pizza Margherita for around 4€ and a cappuccino with brioche for around 3€.

Lecce is, as typical for the south of Italy, chaotic and when crossing the street you have to be careful not to get hit. The buses are very unreliable and stop running after 21:00, but with a few exceptions you can reach everything in the city easily on foot. Unfortunately, there is not much emphasis on waste disposal and especially in the outskirts you will find a lot of rubbish on the side of the road.

Italy's serenity - curse or blessing?

Italian composure is also reflected at the university. I didn't receive final confirmation from the Università del Salento that I could do my Erasmus semester until a month before departure. Unfortunately, the International Office is very overworked, which makes communication very difficult. The professors also take the teaching very calmly and it can sometimes happen that the lecture starts half an hour later and ends half an hour earlier. You should introduce yourself as an Erasmus student right at the beginning, because it is possible that the exam material will be reduced somewhat as a result.

ESN Lecce organises many meetings among the Erasmus students, such as parties, excursions e.g. to Naples, cooking classes and is therefore a good way to get to know new people.

An Erasmus semester in Lecce is a wonderful and exciting time - a time to enjoy Apulian specialities, to party extensively and to meet many new people from different cultures. But it can also be a time when you feel left alone with the chaotic Italian bureaucracy and despair of serenity.

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