“Six months in my life but a life in six months”

23. March 2022 ScholarsAlumniScholarship
Julieta Newland
Julieta Newland received the Ernst Mach Grant for studying at an Austrian University of Applied Sciences to study in Austria for half a year. Her stay at FH Joanneum in Graz helped her to grow professionaly as well as personally. Please read about her experience below:

Six months ago, I received a letter from the OeAD where it said that I had been chosen for the Ernst Mach Grant for studying at an Austrian University of Applied Sciences to study one exchange semester in Graz in the Masters of Communication Design at FH Joanneum. What led me to apply for this grant was being able to have the opportunity to grow not only academically but personally, and I definitely succeeded. This semester in Graz has been one semester I will never forget.

I chose the FH Joanneum University of Applied Sciences because of its academic prestige. It is the second largest University of Applied Sciences in Austria and the academic proposal promotes innovation, and an updated look at design that not many universities have. What is more, this University is located in Graz, an amazing city. As Graz has been announced by UNESCO as “City of Design '', I was really keen to learn about Design in the city’s museums and architecture for example.

One goal for this semester, and one of my reasons why I chose Austria, was to improve my German level. During my first weeks I attended an intensive German course. This course enabled me to get in contact with Austrian culture in a different way. Despite my German level after the course was not high, the course gave me enough tools to speak with the local people and, in this way, learn more about them and the way they relate and communicate with each other. I found that Austrian people are really honest and kind, and that is something I will never forget about this country.

Another expectation I had for this semester was to learn about different design methodologies or approaches, and I definitely was able to do so. The FH Joanneum was a great place not only to learn and discuss design, but also to interact with other exchange students. Throughout the different courses I found a free-space to discuss and learn collectively. Even though almost all the assignments were individual, we were always encouraged to make group discussions where everyone could intervene or make suggestions on other students' work.

During my stay I could make the most of the city, Graz. Being in a student-city was really comfortable and I felt that I was in a safe environment despite coming from another country and culture. People were really friendly and you could find people from different parts of Austria and Europe. This pushed the cultural exchange I already had even further.

Throughout the semester I also took part in social activities with organizations, such as ESN (Erasmus Student Network). These activities were not only fun but also a great way to get in touch with other exchange students apart from university. Being in contact with other cultures has also helped me develop more tolerance and helped me understand the value of my own culture as well.

In my home country, Argentina, having this kind of opportunity is really unique. Therefore, when going back to Argentina I have the responsibility of transmitting everything that I have learned in these six months, sharing and contributing with all the new knowledge that I have gained.


Lastly, I wanted to include some small tips, in case you are interested in applying for the Ernst Mach Grant.

  • First of all, try to plan your application with time as there are many questions and documents that may take time.
  • Secondly, when uploading the documents check for the requirements of each one, like signature and stamps.
  • Thirdly, try to be as authentic as you can. Many answers are personal and require a lot of thinking; I consider it really important to try to be yourself in each one.


Having gone through this opportunity, I can say this was an amazing challenge for me. Leaving my home country, my comfort zone for a whole semester was completely worth it. The fact that being in a different environment made me revalue my Argentinian culture. Also, learning more about design, broadening my mind and being able to understand things from different perspectives will make a difference in my academic, professional and also personal life. As one friend told me: these six months were not six months in my life but a life in six months.