Impressions from a Semester at the University of Salzburg
Two graduate students of the American University of Armenia (AUA) Political Science and International Affairs (PSIA) program spent their Fall semester at the Paris Lodron University of Salzburg, Austria, as Erasmus+ exchange students. Liana Simonyan (PSIA ’20) and Alvina Saakyan (PSIA ’20) returned to Armenia full of enthusiasm and determination to achieve their educational goals.
Comparing their experience at AUA and the Paris Lodron University of Salzburg, the students have observed no major differences between the educational systems of the two universities. However, as Simonyan noted, the teaching methodology of many courses differed in several aspects: “At the Paris Lodron University of Salzburg, the classes concentrated more on reading materials, while at AUA our professors encourage us to think more broadly and explore concepts and themes beyond those related to specific readings. Also, in Salzburg, more emphasis was put on the methodology and the research design of the articles that we examined, which helped me to improve my research skills a great deal.”
Simonyan and Saakyan were impressed by the enchanting city of Salzburg and its friendly and hospitable people. The students had the opportunity to explore the local culture, compare the worldviews of individuals from different places, and get a better insight into international relations. They also made new friends from other countries and established new connections. Their Erasmus+ mobility experience fully met their expectations.
“I obtained a number of useful skills, such as planning, organizational, and time management skills. I also improved my communication skills, self-confidence, and most importantly, my proficiency in English leveled up. These mobility programs are important, as you go out of your comfort zone and become a more confident individual, who comes back being more certain of what he or she wants and ready to accept different challenges,” remarked Simonyan.
Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.