Starting and continuing your studies is tricky. Therefore it helps to know the tricks of the trade where you can find the information you are looking for and who will support you in solving a certain problem. The Teaching Affairs and Student Services passes on some tips to you thanks to their student advisory service. Here is the best of “I wish I had known that earlier” by Barbara Hamp.
1) Course directory
There you find the following information:
- place, time, course type (hover over the abbreviation in front of the title to show the full course description),
- attendance requirement (the course is either classified as “prüfungsimmanent”, which means that there is continuous assessment and you have to be present, or there is no information regarding attendance requirement, which means that you do not have to be present),
- registration period,
- registration link (once the registration period has started).
Much can be done with the u:space portal. At the beginning of the semester not only course registration is important but also the “Personal matters” area. Here you can change your address in the “Personal data” area (this is relevant for buying a semester pass from the Wiener Linien public transport). In the “My documents” area you can print your student record sheet and confirmation of enrolment (this is relevant for receiving family allowance).
3) u:card – your student ID card
When you first gain admission to the University of Vienna, you will receive your u:card – your student ID card. The u:card will be sent to you by mail after your first enrolment and payment of the tuition fee.
To validate the card, you have to visit one of the u:card terminals at one of the terminal locations. This you need to do every semester after paying the tuition fee.
Please note that you also need to sign the u:card on the back of the card.
If you loose your u:card or it gets lost or stolen, you will have to pay 15 Euro to receive a new card. All information about the u:card and its features can be found here.
4) Planning your semester
At the university, you are not given a fixed timetable.You have to plan your semester yourself. The most important basics are the curriculum of your degree programme and the course directory in u: find. Important information on planning the semester and orientation guidelines are available on the website of the Teaching Affairs and Student Services. On the detailed page of each degree programme, you will find information regarding your degree. If you have further questions, the Student Representatives – students who are already studying the programme – can help the most, since they know all the pitfalls of the programme. The Austrian Students’ Union of the University of Vienna (ÖH Uni Wien) also offers counselling at the beginning of the semester. Check out their counselling days and see also point 7) “ÖH Uni Wien”.
5) Problems with the registration system
If you do not know why the system does not display points for the course registration; which curriculum item to select; how the preference system works; why you cannot find courses, etc., you are in good hands with your degree programme’s SSS/SSC (StudiesServiceUnit/StudiesServiceCenter). It is the organisation hub for semester courses.
6) Missing/incorrectly entered grades
Your grades are not displayed in u:space? Your grades are allocated to the wrong module? The system says that you did not complete the introductory and orientation period? Your SSS/SSC can tackle the issue and shed some light on the confusion of grades.
7) ÖH Uni Wien (Austrian Students’ Union at the University of Vienna)
The ÖH (Austrian Student’s Union) is the interest group for students and offers many services to you. There are advisory services for first-semester students by the students’ representatives, the mensa sticker&bonus (Mensen-Pickerl&Bonus) giving you a discount in many Mensa cafeterias (additional discounts for low-cost and tasty food), a copy sticker (to save extra money during your studies) and other counselling services such as studying abroad.
8) Family allowance/federal aid for students
The Finanzamt (tax office) responsible for your place of residence is the best contact for questions about family allowance; the Austrian Study Grant Authority for questions about the federal aid for students. We know from personal experience that both authorities have service-oriented and cooperative staff.
9) Wiener Linien semester pass
The Wiener Linien public transport offers low-cost passes for students. If you buy your pass online, you have to enter the exactly same address as indicated in u:space, use an “a” in front of your student ID number and check whether your admission is valid (for new entrants it starts on 1 October/1 March). If the online purchase does not work, you can buy the pass in person at the box offices of the Wiener Linien.
10) University Sport Institute and Language Centre
The University Sport Institute (USI) offers great sport courses ranging from Aerial Dance to Zumba classes. You can attend language courses for more than 30 languages at the Language Centre. So you might be able to say “I have finished my studies” in Finnish, Hindi or Korean. Both institutions provide favourable course prices to students.
This article is available in a German version here.