Emanuela's academic adventure: From Brazil to Vorarlberg

13. November 2023 ScholarsAlumni
Follow Emanuela's journey from Brazil to Austria, where she pursues her dreams of higher education with the help of the Ernst Mach Grant.

Emanuela, leaving behind the vibrant landscapes of Brazil, embarked on a journey that would take her to the heart of Europe - Austria. With the support of the Ernst Mach Grant, she found herself in Dornbirn at the University of Applied Sciences Vorarlberg. Learn about Emanuela's experience in one of Austrias smallest states, filled with enriching discoveries, lifelong friendships, and academic excellence.

Every new place I explore prompts reflection and gratitude for having the courage to step out of my comfort zone and venture to a new country on a different continent with a distinct language and culture. I am certain that I will always cherish these moments and the lessons I am learning along the way.

What was your experience of studying in Austria like?

My experience of studying in Austria, so far, has been one of many positive discoveries. This is partly because English is my second language, with Portuguese being my first. Although most people in the city of Dornbirn speak German, I have always found someone willing to help. Whether it's with directions, studies, or even at the market, I have always felt welcomed, even in a different culture from my own. This willingness to assist and the local hospitality have been a remarkable aspect of my experience here. Furthermore, the opportunity to study at one of Austria's top universities has been a dream come true for me, as I am driven by the constant pursuit of knowledge. The differences in the education system have also been interesting to explore and learn from. Overall, my experience of studying in Austria has been enriching and fulfilling.

What did you particularly like about your studies/university?

What I particularly like about my studies at the University of Applied Sciences Vorarlberg in Dornbirn is the innovative and technology-driven environment it provides. The university offers a wealth of resources and study materials, making it conducive to learning. One aspect that has stood out to me is the accessibility of study spaces on campus, available every day at any time. Moreover, the university actively fosters a sense of community and teamwork. Through activities with international exchange students and collaborative projects with fellow coursemates, there's a strong emphasis on building teamwork and camaraderie among students. This not only enhances the learning experience but also prepares us for the professional world. Another remarkable feature is the university's commitment to networking with local businesses. This offers invaluable opportunities for students like me who aspire to enter the workforce, particularly in fields related to our studies. I believe the university does an excellent job of nurturing both our personal growth and our professional development, making it a truly exceptional place for learning.

What fun activities did you partake in?

I had the opportunity to participate in a variety of fun activities during my time in Austria. The International Office at FHV organized a fantastic week for us exchange students, filled with enjoyable experiences. We had quizzes about Dornbirn, exploring the local culture and Austrian traditions. Additionally, we went hiking through the breathtaking landscapes of the city, making the most of the last days of summer. Outside of the organized activities, my fellow students and I got together frequently for more outdoor adventures. We enjoyed sunny days by the city's river, went for hikes, and even took a trip to the neighboring city of Bregenz to explore and relax by the city's beautiful lake. These experiences allowed me to immerse myself in the local culture and create lasting memories with friends from around the world.

What made your stay unforgettable to you?

What has made my stay truly unforgettable, up to this point, are the incredible people I have met who have gradually become like a second family to me here. In particular, there is one remarkable lady who, on the day I arrived in Dornbirn, went out of her way to assist me with everything. She shared invaluable insights about the city, guided me to where I could find everything I needed, and overall provided an exceptional welcome that left a lasting impression on me. Her kindness and warmth gave me a fantastic first impression and instilled hope that the rest of my time here would be as wonderful as that initial encounter. Moreover, every new place I explore prompts reflection and gratitude for having the courage to step out of my comfort zone and venture to a new country on a different continent with a distinct language and culture. I am certain that I will always cherish these moments and the lessons I am learning along the way. This experience has also allowed me to improve my English, and each day, I acquire new words and expressions, which brings me joy as it signifies progress and growth in my language skills.

What useful tips could you give to others?

Make good use of smartphone apps. The Maps app, in particular, will become your trusty companion, helping you navigate and discover your surroundings. For those who, like me, may not speak the local language, a translation app can also be incredibly handy, especially for essential tasks like grocery shopping. Don't be afraid to take the leap and explore a new country. You'll often find kind-hearted individuals who are willing to help and guide you along the way. The sense of community and support from locals and fellow travelers can be truly heartwarming.

What benefits did being an OeAD Alumni bring to you, and how did it help you throughout your stay?

The opportunity to study in Austria has become a reality for me thanks to OeAD, and I am immensely grateful for their role in turning my dream into a reality. I have always had a deep passion for learning, and I see Austria as a promising country, known for its technological advancements, organizational excellence, and abundant opportunities. It is proving to be an excellent place to foster my professional growth, expand my network, and immerse myself in a new culture and way of life. Being an OeAD scholarship recipient are instrumental in helping me make the most of my time in Austria, enabling personal and professional growth, and deepening my appreciation for this incredible opportunity.