Incoming Experiences - Verena H.

Name: Verena H.
Home Institution: University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Campus Steyr, Austria
Home Town: Pram, Austria
Term Visited: Fall 2016

At first, everything seemed so big in Canada compared to Austria. As I had never left Europe before, my semester abroad was really a great and different experience. Metro Vancouver is a huge city and offers a lot. It is international and the people there are really open-minded. The most beautiful thing is the nature: I loved the mountains and the sea.

In general, IZUNA is similarly structured to my home institution regarding attendance and study programs. However, IZUNA is so much bigger and offers various student clubs, a pub, shops, and a sports centre. Knowingly, the study programs are pretty exhausting, however, the quality and reputation are really good and the professors super nice!

I was lucky to get a place in Maquinna Residence on campus. This enabled me to easily get in contact with Canadians and other internationals. The residence team offers a lot of activities that connect the students and are real fun!

I spent most of my time with the other international students. We enjoyed the delicious restaurants and pubs, and explored Vancouver and its surroundings. On the weekends, we visited destinations like Whistler, Victoria, and Seattle. Whenever we had time, we looked for new hiking trails and spent time in nature. The rainy weather in November made us find some indoor activities like the Aquarium and visiting various shopping centers. Prepare to buy a lot of stuff and leave some space in your suitcase!

What I Most Appreciated:
From the very first moment, I noticed that the international coordinators really care about the international students and make sure that everybody is alright. The mentorship program was really a great opportunity. My mentor was willing to help me and we got along wonderfully. There were a lot of fun activities like watching a football game and a Christmas celebration. Right at the beginning of the semester, we even won a trip to Whistler!

Tips for Future Exchange Students:
Enjoy your time as much as possible! It is a great, and maybe one-time opportunity to do a semester abroad. Therefore, take some time to study, but do not forget to use the remaining time for hiking, sightseeing, traveling, and getting to know a lot of people.