... in Vienna, Austria (ISU WU 2020)
Anna Burger is studying for her Bachelor's degree at the Vienna University of Economics and Business and participated in the ISU WU 2020 program. She tells us about her experiences.
How did you find out about the ISUWU and why did you decide to participate?
A friend of mine told me about the ISUWU and I was impressed that such a program exists. Since I am a business law and business administration student at WU, I do not necessarily need to gain international experience. Nevertheless, I wanted to broaden my horizon, get in touch with different cultures and work together with motivated people from different backgrounds. Additionally, I am convinced that international experience plays an important role in each profession, even as lawyer.
How did you like the academic program of the ISUWU 2020?
ISUWU 2020 was the first international summer exchange program I participated in. I am highly surprised not only how much I learned regarding International Management and International Marketing within a short period of time but also how I could further develop personal growth e.g. improving social and team leader skills.
The program itself was very diverse. Especially working on case studies and further group projects allowed us to work closely together with people coming from nearly all over the world, to get to know different cultures, backgrounds and to enhance outside-the-box-thinking. I am convinced that we were only able to establish the best results because we were such a diverse group. The ISUWU showed me how important a diverse workforce is to be competitive in the global business market.
Do you think that the distance-learning implementation at ISUWU 2020 was successful?
Since I am a student of WU, I was already familiar with distance-learning methods. The distance-learning implementation at ISUWU was very interactive and combined various methods, from MS Teams meetings to reading material on learn@wu.
Although the ISUWU was one of the best implemented distance-learning sessions I have ever attended, a virtual exchange cannot fully replace a physical one. It is difficult to get an impression of a country and its culture when you do not experience it for yourself. Moreover, managing time zone differences was very challenging. While Japanese students nearly fell asleep because it was already midnight, US students barely woke up because it was early morning. The ISUWU solved this problem outstandingly - either a suitable time for every student was found or the session was recorded. You could really see that the best was made out of the given situation.
How was the Enrichment Program at ISUWU?
The Enrichment Program felt very familiar. The organizers were really kind and helpful and they put their heart and soul into this program, which played an important part in contributing to the enjoyment of the ISUWU.
During the Enrichment Program, we did a group project on international exchange with two students of our favorite university. My group chose the Stanford University. During an MS Teams meeting with a Standord student, we discussed many interesting topics. It was an unforgettable experience and we are still in contact with her.
In what way did your experiences at ISUWU help you personally and academically?
ISUWU allowed all of us to get in contact with so many different people living thousands of miles away from our own home. It was an exciting experience for me because I felt as having two ‘lives’ – my routine daily life and an intercultural virtual one. Although we were just sitting in front of our computers and were not able to meet each other in person, we still got to know each other very well. Even enjoying delicious wine together was possible via virtual exchange. We had a lot of fun and I made lots of friends from Japan to the US, with whom I am still in contact.
The program showed me how important intercultural experience is, not only at the workplace but also in the day-to-day life. Especially the group project contributed immensely to the development and enhancement of my personality. All these aspects helped me both on a personal and academic level. Thanks to the ISUWU, I am now well prepared to work in today’s and tomorrow’s culturally diverse workplaces.
Do you have any tips for future participants?
"Certain characteristics like being open-minded for new things and being communicative are not only useful to get the most out of the program but also to have a lot of fun and to make new friends. Enjoy the ISUWU, it is an unforgettable experience!"
Content by Anna Burger. Thank you!