Author: Marta Piqueras Garcia
Home University: Universitat de Lleida (Catalonia, Spain)
Host University: Pädagogische Hochschule Steiermark (Graz, Austria)
Since I started my studies in the university I wanted to go abroad, and my degree, Bilingual Primary Education, offered that. Before come here I was a little bit nervous, a lot of questions came into my mind: Will I adapt well? How will be the lessons in the university? Will I meet nice people? Will I like the city? The country? Is not one semester too much? Where will I live? Which are the steps to live and study there (about documentation and legal stuff)?
Once here, everything has been perfect! The city, people, university, accommodation, any problem and a lot of stories to tell! Now I would wish to stay longer, Erasmus has been the best experience in my life! If I can, I will repeat or do something similar, and I will recommend everybody.
PHST (Host University)
Hasnerplatz 12, 8010 Graz (Austria)
Pädagogische Hochschule Steiermark (or PHSt) is a university for teacher education, with a school inside of it. The teachers are very nice and friendly and they always want to help you, it surprised me a lot, they are so close so you can ask whatever you need. Furthermore, you will have the attention of the international team and the buddies. At the end, all of them, international team, teachers, partners… will be like your little family here.
In my case, we didn’t attend a lot of courses because we did more school placement than our partners, so the ones we went were all about international education system and competences (for me, very interesting), we have been talking about education a lot, and comparing each education system from each country we had in class. Also we did a lot of projects and artefacts, very useful to bring back home.
About the school placement, we was in Odilien Institut, in the second grade. It was amazing… I’m so sad to leave the kids and our teachers there… I learnt a lot, more than a lot… they work also with blind people and a lot of children with special needs, and I never couldn’t imagine how many things I discovered there. All the teachers were so friendly (I think it’s about people in Austria, they are so nice, even if they don’t seem like) and children… well, we don’t speak German (now we are able to say some sentences but not to have a conversation) so it was a little bit tricky with the pupils at the beginning because they don’t speak English with seven years old, but, there are a lot of ways to communicate, among them, non-verbal communication, and with the time, we have interacted with them so much, we know each of them, we taught three times with the help of our teacher and it was great. I love their system also, they have two teachers in each class, one of them to pay attention to the children with special needs while the other it’s giving the matter. In our class both of them were able to do it (because both have primary education and attention to diversity), and each week they change their papers, so children have two ways to understand or ask questions to the teachers, if you don’t understand one, maybe the other one can help you.
ESN (Erasmus Student Network)
They are an organization who takes care of all the incomings in all Europe. They offer you a lot of help, in Graz, if you have the ESN card you have many discounts in shops, excursions, activities, a SIM card and a free bank account number. I recommend you to have this account in the bank cause you can use it to take out money without commission, also for the Quick payments (like to buy cigarettes in the street, make the laundry in the dorm or in few supermarkets that you only can use this kind of card, not Visa for example).
It’s very useful to check their webpage: http://unigraz.esnaustria.org/ and take a look at the activities the offer, parties, etc.
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