Friday, November 13, 2015

Grüß Gott!

Austria is absolutely wonderful! Since arriving, the weather has been getting slowly colder, but is still mild, which is unusual for this time of year. I consider myself lucky, since this means that there is still a chance to go out and enjoy it on the weekends when we have some free time.
I am studying my 3rd semester of my Master’s degree in Information Systems from HPU here at Fachhochschule Salzburg, and I have been lucky enough to get a room at the on campus housing. The rooms are great, and each one has an individual kitchen and bathroom. There are three differently coloured rooms: red, blue, and yellow. I am in a blue room, which means that all my cabinets are blue, as well as the floor!
When I have class, it is merely a walk of about 2 minutes away. Since this is a Fachhochschule, the classes are more technical than I am used to, with the course Robot Kinematics being the one which is the furthest from my ‘comfort zone’. Luckily though, this is also my favourite course, with a wonderful professor, so I am happy I have the opportunity to take it. The thing about the courses that struck me as being most different from HPU, was that there are no textbooks. At the beginning of the semester, I was getting a little frustrated that I could not find my reading list. But then it turned out, that you get a pdf with a course ‘script’ that the professors have written themselves. In addition to this, each slide deck contains about 100 slides that hold valuable information, and represent a significant part of the course materials.
I have already made some wonderful friends here, but when it comes to the classes, I am the only international student in all my courses. There is a total of 81 international students visiting FH Salzburg this semester, but only a few of us are Master’s students, and none of them are studying the same line as me. Here at FHS, the Master’s programme that I am enrolled in is called Information Technology & Systems Management. This has also caused some heartaches for the professors of the courses that I do attend. Because I have two courses where the classes overlap, I have to change between which lectures I attend. I heard from the other students, that when I am not in class, the professor teaches it in German. Another one of my courses is simply taught in German, due to a miscommunication error in which the professors were not told that the course should be in English. On the bright side, I have learned a lot of new German ‘IT words’, and have become more accustomed to the local dialect. Hopefully by the end of the semester I will be able to speak German with confidence!
Cute salamander found whilst climbing the Untersberg

Hike at the beginning of the semester when it was a bit warmer

One of the best days of my life! I went to watch the almabtrieb where the cows are brought down from the Alps for the winter. This is celebrated by ordaining them with head dresses and parading them down the mountain and through the town. (It is also celebrated by singing and drinking lots of beer)

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