Full name: Alejandra J. Monsiváis Barrón
Home country: México
Home institution: Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM)
Host institution in Austria: Johannes Kepler Universität (JKU)
Study programme: PhD in engineering sciences
Duration of your stay in Austria: 1 year, February 2012 – January 2013
Current position: PhD Student at the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM)
Why did you choose Austria?
I have been attracted to studying in Austria because of its size, location, unique history and population. Austria is right in the center of Europe. Connecting to eastern and western European countries it is simple. Flights and trains are inexpensive and most destinations can be reached in a short amount of time. In contrast to larger or smaller European counties, Austria’s size allowed me to learn its geography and history intimately and quickly, but also offorded me the sort of robust and sophisticated contemporary culture that encouraged exploration and meeting new people. My knowledge of German has improved immensely because I’ve been able to practice it everyday. I have been pleased to see how much the Austrians that I’ve met are willing to help me learn how to express myself in their language.
Why would you recommend Austria as an interesting study location?
Studying abroad is about reaching a depth of experience and expanding one’s tolerance for newness. I came to Austria to find its differences. I expected everything to function differently in Austria than in Mexico and I am seeking those differences to identify the unique facets of the cultures that produce them. I am not interested in thinking that any one system is better than the other; I am interested in becoming a product of the confluence of the two. Studying in Austria has been an indelibly positive experience for me and I recommend it without reservation to anyone who is considering it.
What did you like about Austria?
Austria is an amazing country. I must confess that I felt in love with every single place here. The people are friendly, landscapes are amazing and the quality of life is great here. Linzt is not a big city but even though I think the feeling of being rushed, even though it is not so big. There are a lot of parks everywhere and you can just go and walk around the city and you feel safe.
What were the challenges you had to deal with?
Once you are in a foreign country you start dealing with many things. For example different languages and references, a different culture, different food and of course the weather (but this also depends on where are you coming from). The last one was a real challenge for me but at the end you get used to it and learn how to live with it. Anyway to learn German is still on the top of my TO DO list.