“Expect the unexpected”

“Psychology? Interesting. And what are your plans after graduation? – A good question that I ask myself too more and more. I am a student in the sixth semester of the bachelor’s programme in Psychology at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. I have enrolled on this degree programme out of personal interest and, actually, not with a clear career path in mind. Now, it is about time to start reflecting on my professional future more closely. And what better way to do this than by going a semester abroad?

There is plenty of opportunity to go abroad, ranging from familiar countries in Europe to exotic countries on the other side of the globe. But I chose Vienna where I am now spending my second semester abroad as part of the Erasmus mobility scheme. Aside from the impressive architecture – it is not without reason that Vienna has been named the most liveable city in the world for the tenth time in a row – it was mainly the wide range of studies that convinced me to study in Vienna. The University of Vienna offers the opportunity to explore subject areas that had not been covered in my previous studies and that give me ideas for my future career. For example, I attend courses on consciousness and mindfulness research. This week I gave a presentation on the highly topical issue of the impact of digitisation on the life domain balance – via video conferencing, of course, and from Berlin instead of Vienna.

Because as we all know, you should always expect the unexpected: It all started when Austrian universities were closed to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus. This initial measure was followed by restrictions on leaving home. That would usually not be a problem, as I like being at home. But being alone is only nice as long as you are not forced to be alone. So, I decided to leave Vienna and stay at my boyfriend’s place in Berlin instead.

But this does not mean that I want to withdraw from my Erasmus semester in Vienna. I am planning to return to Vienna as soon as the situation improves. I do hope that this will become possible in the not too distant future, since I still want to enjoy a few days of summer in Vienna. Until then, I am glad that I am able to continue my semester abroad via remote learning from Berlin. It works quite well, but it does pose entirely new challenges for all of us. This especially holds true for the life domain balance, as the boundaries between university life, the job and private life are blurring, and the usual daily routines have changed. It helps to keep a certain structure and leave the flat at least once a day.

What I always wanted to do but never got around to: meditating every day. Now, I find time to do it. Meditating helps me a lot to keep my inner peace of mind, especially in view of the worrying reports on the news.” – Leonie Leitner

Leonie is studying Psychology as part of her Erasmus stay abroad at the University of Vienna. (If you would like to find out more about Leonie’s way through studies, follow her campaign on the “studieren weltweit” (studying worldwide) website.

P.S.: Incoming and outgoing students find all important information and FAQs about the coronavirus and the new situation regarding stays abroad on the website of the International Office.


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