From October 2010 till January 2011, I studied four months at the Leopold-Franzens University in Innsbruck (Austria).
I could choose all my courses myself, although there were some minor conditions I had to bear in mind: I had to take at least one course in both languages I study (English and German) and at least one linguistic and one literary course. In sum, I had six courses (four in German and two in English), which amounted to nine hours of class a week.
The teaching system at university was sometimes different from the one I was used to in Belgium. I took three seminars, in which students gave a presentation at the beginning of the class. This presentation lasted twenty to thirty minutes, whereupon the speakers started a discussion in which the other students took part. The professor only acted as a moderator, steering the debate in the right direction. This concept was new for me, but I found it an interesting way of having class.
In order to get a mark, I had to write a paper and give a presentation for three courses (‘Literarische Textanalyse: Novellistik von der Goethezeit bis zur Postmoderne’, ‘Literarische Textanalyse: Märchen’ and ‘Discourse/Identity: American Cultures: Make ‘Em Laugh: Landmarks in American Comedy’). For ‘German as foreign language’, I had to give a presentation about my favourite film and write a review of my favourite book. Finally, for ‘Interlingual Mediation’, I had to translate an English text into German.
Turning to the accommodation, I had a room at Akademikerhilfe, a student’s house on the outskirts of Innsbruck. As a consequence, in order to go to the city centre or to university, I had to take the bus, which took me about twenty minutes. Nevertheless, the bus connection was excellent: on week days, I could take a bus every five minutes.
Most of the people who lived at Akademikerhilfe were Erasmus students too. Hence, I met people from a variety of nationalities (e.g.: people from Italy, Spain, Finland, Thailand, Germany, Austria, France or Bulgaria). On the other hand, at university, I did not really get to know anybody. Indeed, as you have only class with the other students once a week, it is difficult to get into close contact with them.
I definitively enjoyed my Erasmus stay in Innsbruck. It is a beautiful village that is not too big, so that you are quickly familiar with it. With its courses and sometimes different system of teaching, the university also pleased me. Finally, the people were very nice and friendly and I got to know a lot of new friends in the student’s house where I stayed.
In short, I can only recommend Innsbruck as the perfect city for an Erasmus stay!