Tips for freshers
School is over, a new chapter in life begins. Exciting, isn’t it? We have put together a few tips for freshers so that you can get off to a successful start in student life.
Get to know the university
School was usually a manageable place where you could find your way around quickly. Universities and technical colleges, on the other hand, are much larger, consist of many different buildings and each course takes place in a different lecture hall or seminar room. You quickly feel overwhelmed.
It is therefore advisable to take a closer look at the university a few days before the start of your studies. Some universities are not set up as a central campus, but rather distribute their individual departments throughout the city. You might even have to walk a few kilometres between lectures!
A campus map can usually be downloaded from the universities’ websites. Of course, you don’t need to memorize the entire campus map. However, in order to be able to find your way around lecture rooms and administrative offices, you should know some important points. This includes:
- Where is the entire administration of my degree program?
- Where are the lecture rooms?
- Where is the cafeteria?
- How do I get from point A to point B by bike, on foot, bus or train?
Before you start your studies, you usually already know which courses are coming up in the coming days. Then you can always plan the day in advance, where you need to be and when. But also consider the chronic lack of space that is particularly prevalent at universities.
If you come to a lecture two minutes before the start of the lecture, you run the risk of not being able to sit down and having to sit on the steps.
If you are new to a city and don’t know any of your future fellow students, it is all the more important to meet new people soon. You will usually be supported at the beginning by your university, technical college, private university, PH or student representatives, because they organise events to get to know each other right at the beginning of the semester, for example.
- Orientation week
Orientation week is usually divided into a formal and an informal part. The formal part with the important information about study organization is carried out by the university or the respective faculty.
There is usually an official greeting, followed by a guided tour of the city and coffee and cake to end the day. In the following days you can take part in guided tours of the campus and the library, receive information about advice centres and also tips and tricks for student life.
The informal part is usually organized by the student councils or student representatives. These include welcome parties, scavenger hunts through the city (with a lot of alcohol and notorious tasks such as the “Kleiderkette” or clothes chain) and activities such as eating together, bar crawls, etc. Here you get to know many of your fellow students and make first contacts.
- Facebook and others as a place to meet
Another way of getting to know people before starting your studies is through forums and social media. You can simply post a post in online forums and ask everyone who will start in the coming semester. Often some other future students get in touch who are also happy to get to know people.
Another option is the Facebook page of your university or college, for example. Here, too, you can leave a post and make contacts.
Anyone who learns a lot and works hard deserves a break. Leisure time for students is an important point in everyday life and is a good way to distract yourself, to work out or just to relax. We’ll show you effective old school options alongside Netflix and smartphones, which are actually totally up to date!
Most universities offer their students a sports program at affordable prices. Many courses are even free of charge, and some have a small participation fee. So if you have always wanted to try fencing or tai chi, now is the opportunity. But also those who would like to continue their favourite sport will find numerous offers between football, dancing and karate.
University sports are great for getting to know new people and new sports. The sports available at the university can be viewed online. Some universities also distribute brochures that tell you what sports are on offer.
- Student parties
Student parties are very popular and well attended: They are relaxed, often without admission and have cheap drink prices. At the beginning of a semester, almost every faculty holds its own party. There are of course also separate student parties for freshers – but this does not mean that you cannot attend other student parties as a fresher.
Explore the city
The universities and technical colleges in Austria are mainly located in larger cities. Anyone who has now moved “into the big wide world” for their studies from more rural regions and suddenly finds themselves in a big city must of course first orientate themselves.
- Where am I and where do I want to go?
Fortunately, in the age of smartphones and digital route planners, it has become much easier to find your way in a new city. Where is which supermarket, which cinema is nearby? Where exactly is the university in relation to my apartment? And where are the clubs and bars for my student life?
In the best case scenario, you will have already have discovered many of the answers if you have dealt with the situation while looking for an apartment. Coliving Vienna is here to help you to find a flatshare in Vienna or furnished apartments for rent in Vienna.
From the way to the university, to shopping or leisure areas, everything has to be explored anew. In order to be able to orientate yourself, it is of course helpful to first take a look at a map of the city, by using Google Maps for example.
You can even “fly through the streets” with Google Earth. However, you should of course also get out and explore the city on your own. For example, by using public transport, strolling around on foot or taking a bike. This is the only way to really get to know the city.
Prepare for your studies
There are only a few more weeks between you and your first day at university. You have submitted all documents on time, transferred the semester fees on time, successfully passed the admission test and now you finally have your admission to the course in your hands. But there is still a lot to do before the first day at university and preparation for your studies has not been completed yet. But don’t worry: You can do it!
- Course funding
As is well known, students are not among the super-rich. After all, there is no time for a full-time job between studying and preparing for exams. But housing, food and learning materials do not pay for themselves.
Clarifying the financing of your studies is undoubtedly one of the most important preparations for studying and should best be clarified before starting your studies.
Not every prospective student can rely on the financial support of their parents.
- Apartment search
Many students make a conscious decision to move out from their parents’ home at the beginning of their studies in order to finally stand on their own two feet. Your own apartment for rent in Vienna or a room in a student dormitory – there are many options and each has its advantages and disadvantages.
It is not easy to find cheap apartments for rent or a room, especially at the beginning of the semester, because almost all freshers are looking for a place to stay. If you are looking for or need an apartment, you should start looking for it at an early stage so that you already have a roof over your head when you start your studies.
- Health insurance
Every Austrian student is required to have health insurance. So you have to clarify now whether you are insured with your parents or grandparents and can stay, or whether you have to insure yourself. In this case, all health insurance companies offer favourable rates for students.
- Student job
Perhaps you have already found the time to find out where you can work part-time during your studies. If not, there are a few ways you can combine studying and a student job. Even if the curricula have been tightened quite a bit by the bachelor/master system, it is always possible to find a student job.
So that you know what to expect during your studies, you should definitely take a look at the curriculum when choosing a degree. This contains all the details you should know about the course. For example, how many semester hours are planned per module, how many ECTS points you have to achieve during your studies.
Depending on the university or college, you will find more or less detailed descriptions of when which subjects are taught during the course of studies and what the content is in the curriculum.
This allows you to determine whether the content corresponds to what you imagine the degree to be. Above all, the curriculum is the best tool for comparing universities and technical colleges with one another.
The library plays an important role in studies. Here you can browse thousands of books and magazines to collect facts for your lecturer, your term paper or thesis, study in peace or use the space to prepare for exams without distraction. And that’s why you should definitely know your way around the library.
- Introduction to the library
An introduction to the library is usually given as part of the orientation week, including an extensive tour. If you missed this tour, you can use notices or the library’s homepage to find out when further information events will be offered.
There are usually several opportunities each semester. You should take advantage of this opportunity for everyone, because it makes getting started and the first walk alone into the library that much easier.
Conclusion: You don’t need to be nervous – you are not alone!
The start of your studies is the beginning of a very eventful and great time – it is important that you take your time at the beginning and first get to know the new environment and the university properly.
You’ll see that you’ll quickly meet new people, get to know the city faster than you think and the campus of the university won’t remain so confusing forever.
We hope our tips were helpful and wish you a good start to your first semester!