Elise in Vienna… something for all seasons!

IMG_8158Hi guys, me again (with what is probably my penultimate blog post)!

I just thought I’d write another post to keep you all updated on life in Vienna since I returned at the end of February.

It was so strange coming back to Vienna and there being so many new students for the semester but I was lucky to have lots of friends that, like me, were also doing a year abroad. You may have seen from the other posts that Lis and Henry are also studying here and do International Business Management at Sheffield, so it’s so nice to always have a friendly face and we regularly do stuff together!

IMG_0335Strangely enough, I’ve also become such good friends with two girls from Sheffield Uni who study Law at another Vienna University. I was speaking to Meg who went to Vienna last year online and she suggested I meet up with them and so the next day I did just that! After an hour chatting over lunch, we already got on so well and arranged to go to Prague that weekend! Things like that would have seemed so strange to me this time last year, but a year abroad definitely teaches you to just throw yourself in to everything and we had such a lovely weekend. Prague is so beautiful and was only four hours away from Vienna on a very cheap coach. I now see Kiera and Amelia all the time and turns out they had a fairly big group of British friends out here in Vienna. I thought that making more British friends seemed silly considering I was in a new and exciting country but it’s so nice to spend time with other English people and it means I’m never homesick. The only bad thing is how badly we influence each another on nights out because it’s like we’re in Sheffield again! But we always spend our hungover days together so that makes up for it – we’ve started having sleepovers.

IMG_8545The weather in March and beginning of April has also been amazing! We had over a week of boiling hot sun when the temperature was around 24 degrees which was so nice for picnics in the park. We also went on a six-hour hike which was completely made by the sunshine and we rewarded ourselves with an ice-lolly and aperol spritz on the way back. March was pretty quiet for me on the travelling front, but I’m going to catch up and go to Hallstatt and Krakow in May/June before I leave. I did manage to go night sledding in Semmering with the EBN group which was so much fun and much easier than skiing!

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I’ve been very busy with Hockey as we’ve had a lot of pre-season training. I realised that I forget to mention this part of my Erasmus life before so I’ll do it now…

I’ve played Hockey for ages so decided to join a local team here to make friends. I found a really good team (HC Wien), who play in the National League, on facebook and let them know I was coming. My team is mainly full of Austrian girls but there are a few other internationals such as Flavi from Argentina and Jazz from Australia which is really cool. It’s a nice way to get to know the local people as most of the girls have always lived in Vienna so they recommend good places to go etc. The only difficult thing is that my coach doesn’t speak English! Given that my German is very basic, it can be quite difficult to understand team talks but I can normally work it out and I’ve picked up lots of hockey lingo. We train three times per week which is so good to keep fit and matches start again after Easter which I’m so excited about! So, in summary, I would recommend joining a local club/team as it gives you better insight in to the country and people you’re living in/with.

I had a three-week easter break (which I am currently on) and so went home to see all my friends and family but honestly I didn’t want to leave when it was the day of my flight. This semester is going so quickly and I’m dreading leaving in June!

I’ll make sure to post one final time before I head home on June 20th, but until then… tschuss! x

Elise in Vienna… International Business Management with a placement

EliseHi guys! I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas. Slightly weird post this time as I’m actually writing this from the UK nearing the end of my incredibly long Christmas/semester break. I am definitely so excited to be returning to Vienna next week.

Towards the end of last semester, I started applying for industrial placements to add in to my course before returning to Sheffield for my final year. The main reason I picked the IBM course at Sheffield was actually because it was the only University I could find that offered the opportunity to complete both a year abroad and a placement. I was so surprised to find out that I’ll be only the 2nd person on this course to do both, so I just thought I would share my experience of the application process with you all to encourage you to consider doing the same as me!

So, I started applying for placements towards the end of November which was fairly hard to manage with my final exams of the semester, but definitely doable. To be honest, most of the application deadlines weren’t until the end of December/January so it worked out perfectly with the holidays. If you’re worried you won’t be able to attend interview/assessment centres due to being abroad, don’t be! These days most of the application process is carried out online and I was therefore able to do telephone interviews and videos whilst in Vienna. Although, even if you do need to fly back, the company tends to pay for your travel expenses. Logistically, there have been no issues for me during this whole process (if anything the long holiday has been ideal!). Throughout the whole recruitment process I was able to talk about my experiences abroad, which was so helpful. Not only was I able to talk about my interest in international business, but also my ability to work in multicultural groups which is definitely a selling point.

unileverNow comes the bragging… but I promise I’m only mentioning it to show you all how amazing the year abroad looks on your CV and application. I was lucky enough to be offered a Marketing placement at the FMCG Giant Unilever. Some of you might be reading that with a blank expression, but I’m sure you’re all familiar with Ben & Jerry’s, Dove, Lynx, Marmite, Persil, Domestos and PG Tips, to name a few! Well, Unilever owns all of those brands. I was also invited to the final stages for Microsoft, Hyundai, Bosch and Panasonic but was unable to accept these due to my place at Unilever. So, my advice to all of you considering doing IBM instead of another normal Business Management course – please do! Not only will you have the most amazing time but you’ll also make yourself much more employable.

I should also add that I also took the decision to work for a year in a junior office role before attending University and I also do some temporary office work in the summer holidays – I have been working at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles during my semester break. It’s therefore also a good idea to make the most of your time away from Uni to gain some valuable work experience. Don’t underestimate how important work experience is for a Business undergraduate’s CV.

Sorry to deviate away from the usual study abroad blog post, but I thought it might be something interesting to share with anyone that was considering a year in industry, like me.

I will keep you updated with how the next semester goes as much as possible!

Elise

Management School

Aleena in Texas… from parties, to entrepreneurship and LeBron James!

AleenaHey everyone! Happy New Year!

A little flashback to last year… Christmas in Dallas is beautiful! The streets are full of pretty lights and decorations. Also, there are many Christmas Lights events and markets at malls such as Grapevine, Galleria, Shops at Legacy and many more.

Christmas Spirit at the LibraryAs if that isn’t enough, there are extra shows, musicals, events and parties all over downtown! So, rest assured that there will be some sort of activity for everyone to be involved and get into the Christmas spirit!

Back to 2017… It has already been one month into the Spring Semester and I love my classes so far! Being an International Business major, I have the freedom to choose from a wide range of disciplines within the business field. This semester, I decided to take classes in Entrepreneurship, Finance, Marketing and Operations.

NBA StadiumSince this is my last semester in Texas, I am looking forward to experiencing as many events as possible. Speaking of which, on Monday 30th January, my friends and I went to watch a NBA game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Cleveland Cavaliers. This was an incredible experience especially with the exciting atmosphere amongst the crowd, the speed of the game and most definitely the skill of each player. Final score: Dallas 104, Cleveland 97. Go Mavs! I was amazed at how much I enjoyed the game, and although Dallas won, I’ll be honest; watching LeBron James play, was spectacular in itself!

I’ll be sure to catch up with y’all soon with more updates!

Aleena x

Elise in Vienna… Approaching Christmas

IMG_7018Well… It feels like only yesterday that I sat down to write my first blog post, yet here I am back in the UK having finished my first semester already!

It has gone so quickly but, when I think back, there is so much that I have done. During this semester I have be able to travel as well as enjoy Vienna at Christmas time which is without a doubt the highlight of my time there so far. I have learned to love coffee and warm ‘punsch’ and I’m really going to miss this place I call ‘home’ until I return in March.

IMG_6106October
Budapest – During October, I was lucky enough to go to Budapest on a trip with 40 other WU students which I was initially worried about as I didn’t know many other people also going on the trip. But after the 3 hour journey I already knew I was wrong to worry. I already knew I had made some great friends and I was so excited for the weekend. We spent two nights and three days exploring the city and having two amazing nights out and it was honestly one of the best trips I have ever been on. The girls that I met on this trip continued to be my best friends for the whole semester. I will definitely be going back to visit Budapest next semester and would recommend it to everyone!

IMG_6165Salzburg –  Only a week after going to Budapest, I went on another EBN trip to Salzburg for a day. Salzburg was a beautiful place and we stopped off on the way to admire the views from a height which was incredible. In some ways I wish I had been there before moving to Vienna, because as amazing as it is I couldn’t help but feel that it was a smaller and not quite as impressive version of my new home.

IMG_6681November – November was a busy month for me with University work and at points I thought it would never end! But of course I managed to find time to visit most of the city’s Christmas Markets and try all of the ‘punsch’ on offer. I also developed a bad habit of collecting the various gluhwein mugs as souvenirs.

IMG_7100December – Before I knew it December had some around and I was drowning in University work and revision for my final exams but I thought ski trip would be the perfect distraction. At the beginning of the month there was another EBN trip to Sell am Zee for a three-day visit in the Austrian Alps. I had never attempted to ski before so this was very much a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. After two days of ski lessons, I knew that I was not a natural and that ski boots are the most painful shoes I have ever worn but overall the whole trip was a fantastic way to spend my last weekend in Austria with friends.

IMG_7171I’m not going to lie to you, there have been some hard times too when I’ve either been missing home or struggling with work but it has all been worth it in the end. But, I am certain that I am over the hardest part and I am so excited to go back in March for all the new experiences that will come and new people I will meet. My new friends, from all over the world, have provided me with constant support (particularly during my relationship break up!) and I am so excited to see them all in their home countries – I’m already planning trips to Madrid and Bordeaux this year. Eventually I’d like to make it all the way to Canada but I think that will require a bit more saving.

It’s so hard to summarise the whole semester in one short blog post as there have been so many amazing and indescribable experiences, some of which have probably momentarily slipped my mind whilst writing this. So I think it’s best to summarise in the photos below!

I’ll keep you updated once I return from my long Christmas holiday in March!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Ardilah in Amsterdam… the Dutch festive season

IMG_6659Hello again guys!

Semester 1 is almost coming to an end and I am so excited to be back home for the holidays!

The month of December has been really busy for me with group presentations and assignments. On top of that, we have to study for our block 2 finals which is right before Christmas. It is so different from the UK but hey, at least I get to fully enjoy my Christmas break!

Flat Christmas DinnerApart from being occupied with work, I have been enjoying myself a lot in Amsterdam. There seem to be events every other week and trust me, you will be spoilt for choice. From concerts and gigs to cultural events like the Museum Night where 50 museums in the city are open from 7pm-2am. There are even performances, concerts and small parties going on in the museums – how cool is that?

Now that Christmas is nearing, Amsterdam is looking all pretty and glammed-up with Christmas decorations. Not only that, during this period there is the Amsterdam Light Festival which is from 1 December to 22 January. Light artworks and installations are placed alongside the canals, adding to the beauty of Amsterdam at night. My friends and I explored the canals by cycling (even though it is cold) as the boat tours are usually very crowded with tourists.

Christmas Lights #2It does not feel like Christmas if you don’t organise a flat Christmas dinner before everyone gets busy studying for exams or fly home for the break. We had the classic British Christmas dinner and shared stories on how we celebrate Christmas in different parts of the world. It was really interesting and a great way to end of the first semester.

Merry Christmas and have a happy new year!

Ardilah x

Lisandra in Vienna… Christmas is here

LisandraHi all,

Just a quick catch-up before the long-awaited Christmas break.

Between multiple group presentations and exams, the weeks leading up to Christmas can be very stressful, especially here in Vienna where most tests happen in December rather than your usual January exam period. However, I have come to learn that Austrians might love Christmas even more than I do.

There are multiple Christmas markets scattered all around the city, surrounding the most important landmarks, waiting for you with gluhwein, punsch and kaiserkrone (also known as the best hotdog in the world). If you want to feel a bit like an ‘Ice Princess’, you can show off your skating skills in front of the Rathaus ice rink, which is set up as a maze!

Christmas-Vienna-1List of main Christmas markets:

  1. Vienna Christmas World – Rathaus
  2. Christmas Village – Belvedere
  3. Christmas Cultural Market – Schonbrunn
  4. Art Advent – Karlsplatz

In addition to these, there are multiple hidden mini-markets which you stumble onto when exploring the city.

However, while the gluhwein might be pouring and you’re surrounded by lit up chandeliers in Stephansplatz, do not forget that it gets ridiculously cold here. A lot of Christmas-Vienna-2people, especially from other continents think Europe is hot (???) and have since regretted their outfit decisions. So, just a heads up, be prepared to layer up as you take on all the Christmas markets in Vienna and embrace the festive atmosphere.

If this still doesn’t impress you much, at WU the spring semester starts in March so you get over two months off during winter!

I’ll keep you posted,

L x

Charlie in Amsterdam… Keeping busy!

Charles-NockSo I have now been an expat for four months and before I finish my not-so-Christmassy Christmas exams and board my flight back to Manchester, I’d like to share with you some more thoughts and experiences on my first semester abroad.

As I noted in my first post, Amsterdam is an impossibly busy city. However, at that stage I don’t think that I had fully grasped how impossibly busy it truly is. Since then, it has played host to Amsterdam Dance Event; the biggest city-wide electronic music festival in the world which saw the streets and canals brim with 120 hours of unrelenting Dutch parties. Despite being conspiratorially placed the weekend before my first exam period, I managed to catch a few of my favourite DJs in between readings, exploring a host of groovy record stores and art spaces in the process. The European Sandcastle Championships also came to town.

ParkTime differences mean that flights to England technically only take 20 minutes and as such, I was able to sneak home for a weekend in October to reconnect with family and friends, even making it back up to Sheffield for a night. This of course works both ways and rarely a week goes by without a visit from an old friend or family member. The Netherlands fits into that perfect region; not so close as to have your mum visiting for the weekend to make sure that you’re eating enough vegetables, but equally not so far as to hurt the bank balance should you want to head home for a tasty Hope Works bonanza. This same logic applies to other cities in Europe with Berlin and Paris being short and cheap train journeys away, they are also the focal point of the plans for a meet up with other Sheffield Erasmus students next semester.

CocktailsIt also transpires that Holland gets ridiculously cold and dark as winter sets in. It would be a lie to say I don’t feel a pang of regret as I cycle to a 9am with the mercury well below zero, recalling that universities in sunny Rome and Melbourne had also been offered to me. It is contagiously festive and beautiful, however.

As you may have noticed, exams are coming thick and fast and the course places a heavy emphasis on presentations and group work, which- of course- is not to everyone’s liking. Personally, I am really enjoying all of these things; the course content is engaging and places a high emphasis on practical business skills, with regular seminars on negotiation strategies and Dragon’s Den style business pitches. Leading academics and figures from the business and political world also comprise a weekly open discussion at the university, many of whom previous studied here, this serves to generate an inter-disciplinary mind set and fosters broad thinking. The university also owns some of the oldest and best located buildings in the city, meaning that there’s always a cosy Dutch pub nearby for you to nestle into with class mates if the weather or the course is getting too much to take.

BoatReturning at the end of January will be very strange indeed! Half of my closest friends, flatmates and course mates will have left for their home universities and my first term exam results will hopefully calm my nerves by telling me that I have passed and don’t have to join them. I’ll look forward to meeting yet more faces, the weather warming up again and starting some new courses. I will of course keep you informed along the way.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,

Charlie. X

Introducing… Ardilah in Amsterdam, the Netherlands!

IMG_6659Hey everyone!

My name is Ardilah and I’m studying International Business Management at the University of Amsterdam (UvA).

I chose to study at UvA as I fell in love with Amsterdam when I first came to visit during Christmas break last year. It is such a vibrant city! Not only that, but UvA is also one of the most reputable universities in the world.

Before I embarked on this new journey, I had been contacting GG (who did her exchange at UvA last year) to ease some of my nervousness. I asked her a lot of questions so that I knew what to expect when I arrived. I found that it helped me when I talked to GG, so if anyone has any questions about UvA or Erasmus in general, I would be more than happy to help!

IMG_6485I am lucky that my accommodation is only seven minutes away from the business school by bike. I have 12 other flatmates and they are a great bunch of people. We went to watch a soccer match (Ajax vs. Vitesse), have cultural dinners and do a whole lot of other stuff together that it feels like we’re a big family now, which is nice since you’re away from home and can get homesick at times.

IMG_6478So far, it has been a hectic two months for me. The education system here is so different from Sheffield’s. One semester is divided into three blocks, which also means you have three exam periods in a semester. Block one and two usually last about seven weeks and block three lasts four weeks. It is kind of intense here and it took me quite a while to adapt to the system and the workload I was given (I hope I’m not scaring you!), but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be fine.

IMG_6366So for those of you who are thinking of doing Erasmus, you should totally consider it as, not only will it look good on your CV, but you can expect to discover new things about yourself, have lot of fun and meet new people which will help you broaden your horizons!

 

Doei!

Ardilah x