“Go out and see something new,” says Carl-Florian Bacher, an exchange student from the University of Applied Sciences, Wr. Neustadt, located near Vienna, Austria. “By studying in a different country, you widen your horizons and you don’t stay in your own small world.”
Carl widened his world by coming to study at UFV for the Winter 2013 semester from January to May.
“I like the system at UFV,” Carl shares. “The classes are small so professors know your name. They establish a friendship basis. For example, I call my professor by his first name. In Austria we use titles like doctor or professor.” The average class size at UFV is between 20-25 students. “My Applied Biotechnology professor is the most relaxed teacher I have ever seen,” Carl notes. “Some content is based on the textbook but he gives a lot of creative examples from outside of it.”
And when language is a challenge, there is support: “My professors answer questions and help me understand certain words and content,” Carl points out.
But learning is not all book knowledge. As a volunteer firefighter and winemaker in Austria, Carl goes on excursions to indulge his interests at local fire station exhibitions, car shows in Vancouver, and agriculture shows. He has also visited a winery and beer brewery in BC.
Even exchange students on a shoestring budget can enjoy new experiences, thanks to the U Pass, which allows free and unlimited access to local transit as well as entry to the gym, skating rink, and pool at Abbotsford Recreation Centre. Carl takes advantage of the pass by going to the gym frequently. Sometimes he even takes a bus to an unknown part of the city and challenges himself by walking back. “It’s a good way to know and see a city,” he explains.
Another highlight for Carl is hiking to Chilliwack Lake with friends and joining a youth group at a local church. When asked about his general opinion of Canada, Carl says, “I like how you can feel free to be who you are. Integrate without having to change.”
“What will I miss most about Canada? People; friends,” Carl says. “Feeling free – no pressure of responsibilities at home so it’s more relaxed. I’ll miss the experiences, the things I’ve seen.”
If you are interested in studying at UFV as an long-term international student or a short-term exchange student through a partnership university, like Carl, visit our website for more information about the process of applying. The UFV community values and welcomes students from around the world who are adding colour and diversity to campus life.