The Meaning of Time

At the beginning I was not sure if I should participate in the Milsa programme at all. The reason was that I was quite convinced that Swiss and Austrian cultures are very similar and that therefore there would not be a lot to tell. But of course I was wrong. I also thought that there would not be a big difference between the biggest city Vienna, where I lived for four years, and the second biggest city Graz, where I live now. I was wrong again. In this first blog post I will talk about what I have noticed so far here in Graz and why I am astonished about it. Continue reading “The Meaning of Time”

Cultural peculiarities of Denmark

To settle in Copenhagen took longer than I thought it would. Probably because I had gone there on holidays a couple of times before and thought the city would be more familiar to me due to the days that I had spent here before. But it showed me once again how differently you look at a city when you visit it on holidays or when you try to start to live in that city. Questions that seem easy at home like where I can buy a pan, food for dinner or a duvet can make you struggle in the beginning. Google maps was one of my best friends in the first few weeks as you need to find out where you have to go to, what’s the shortest way and how far something is by bike. Apart from that, I didn’t expect how lonely you can feel in a country where you do not understand and speak the language. Even if the Danes speak English very well, it makes everyday life much more difficult when you have no idea how to pronounce the name of the bus stop in front of your dorm. Often when you want to reassure yourself that you are in the right bus by asking the bus driver if he stops at “Sølvtorvet” he will look at you quite confused and doesn’t understand where you would like to go (Danish people shorten their words while speaking, which is why it is so hard to pronounce their words). Also, if you sit in a lecture with almost no other exchange students and everyone talks Danish in the break it makes it more difficult to get in contact with others and make new friends. Continue reading “Cultural peculiarities of Denmark”

Enjoy your day in a Viennese coffeehouse

Many people told me about the cultural life and standard of living of this city so that I didn’t have to think for long. I wanted to spend my semester abroad in the most liveable city in the world: Vienna. The fact that I am studying German language and literature is of course a perfect fit, because it gives me an insight into the linguistic world of Austria. Like Switzerland, the dialects here are very pronounced and there is an interesting relationship between these and the standard German. But that’s not the point of this article, I want to talk about something from the cultural practice. Continue reading “Enjoy your day in a Viennese coffeehouse”

Differences in Cultural Practice

For my exchange I am staying in the heart of the Netherlands, namely in Utrecht. Thus, it is almost an obvious consequence that my first focus on cultural difference lies on the way that people get around. Utrecht is often found in the top 3 of lists covering the topic of “bicycle-friendliest cities of the world”, and rightfully so, in my opinion. Shortly after my arrival I felt a strong urge to cycle through the city. Maybe it was because of this that on my second day in Utrecht, I bought a slightly overpriced bike.

Continue reading “Differences in Cultural Practice”

A deep gap in the society of Australia

Europeans were not the first humans to arrive in Australia: Aboriginal people arrived in Australia many 10’000 years before the European settlers did. This creates a conflict that is still present up to now. Aboriginal people did not receive basic rights like voting up to the 2nd part of the last century. The probably last aboriginal family living a traditional lifestyle was contacted only in 1984 (https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-30500591) and it’s assumed that most Aborigines (as they are called in Australia) have only been living a Western lifestyle for a few generations. Continue reading “A deep gap in the society of Australia”

“Overwhelming, shocking, sickening and still best month and a half “

On 3rd September 2018, I arrived in Paris together with three friends who study law with me in Bern; this to start our semester in Paris. It was comforting to know that we were in the same situation and that there would be someone to talk to. We came half a week before the start of our “integration week” so that we could get to know the city and its surroundings that would be our home for the next 5 months. At this time, we were still surprised how well we could understand the French language but mostly how well the French people understood us. That would change shortly after. Continue reading ““Overwhelming, shocking, sickening and still best month and a half “”

Amsterdam – tank ju well!

What an amazing city full of international people who make new inhabitants in the city feel welcome. Nevertheless, Amsterdam is a European city, which made it difficult for me to discover cultural differences at the beginning. On the one hand, things are very similar, but on the other, differences are quite difficult to perceive because they seem quite indistinct. In order to perceive them, it is necessary to give the matter a lot of thought, and then even slight distinctions can suddenly become quite revealing when it comes to differences in culture. Continue reading “Amsterdam – tank ju well!”

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