In times of partial lockdown and distance learning, getting to know others can be very difficult, especially for those who just arrived in a foreign country. On Nov 5, 2020 the very first Online Welcome, Meet & Greet session took place in a virtual room.
As every year in the beginning of a new academic year, the OeAD invited all current scholarship holders in Austria to meet up together and get to know each other – this time fort he very first time in an online format.
We are very happy that more than 70 people from all over Austria joined the online welcome: scholarship holders as well as members from the OeAD team enjoyed virtually meeting up together.
After a short hello and relevant information for scholarship holders regarding the services offered by the OeAD as well as on the current measures by the Austrian government, Laura and Lisa, two very active scholarship holders, shared tips and tricks for a successful stay in Austria. We very much enjoyed to find out about their “survival tips“ which are surely useful not only for scholars and students! Laura and Lisa also presented two initiatives by OeAD scholars:
There is a Whatsapp group for scholarship holders and the weekly online German course with Laura, where some incomings already had lots of fun while improving their German together. Both initiatives were established during the last lockdown in spring 2020.
After Lisas and Lauras presentation the group divided into four breakout-groups which met up in smaller virtual rooms. Moderated by OeAD staff, scholarship holder presented themselves and shared hobbies, research interests, funny situations and passions. We found out that many of them would like to go hiking and learn German. A wide range of leisure activities were mentioned:
They want to play cricket or enjoy online games, others love to explore the city and take photos. One person likes to repair computers and offered service to the audience. A young lady mentioned that she loves to sing and play music. We very much hope that the online event helped the participants to find other scholarship holders to share their hobbies and interests with.
At the end of the discussion everybody was invited to share ideas about the positive sides of the current pandemic situation. Some participants mentioned that they enjoyed having more time for themselves, for cooking, talking to friends on the phone or via social media. In general, all of them mentioned that being grateful of what you have and staying connected with others are good survival strategies.
After the official meeting, a room for incoming scholars organized by OeAD in wonder.me was opened and the participants could walk around in the virtual room to chat and meet. The room will be open 24/7 for all those who would like to meet up more often. Once a week, OeAD team members will join to answer questions and enjoy virtually being together.
More than ever we see the necessity for frequent online meetings, to meet, discuss, interact and connect. The events4scholars team will continue to organize online events to strengthen the feeling of belonging together. #WeAreOne #Staypositive