Spotlight: Fabian Bouchal

Fabian Bouchal is an exchange student from the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Hagenberg Campus who is currently studying abroad at CNU. He is a Computer Science major who is currently in the second to last semester of his Master’s program.

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1. What made you want to pursue studying abroad at CNU?
“When I made the decision to study in a foreign country for one semester I rather quickly made up my mind that I wanted to go to the United States. I had never left Europe for a long period of time, so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity. I then looked into the universities in the US that had formed a partnership with my university in Austria, one of which was CNU. One of the major reasons why I choose to apply to CNU was the fact that it is a rather small university, compared to other ones in the US. Since my university in Austria is even smaller than CNU, I thought I would be able to settle in and adapt to a smaller university much faster and easier, and as it turned out, I was right.”

2. Did you have any difficulties during the application process?
“The fact that CNU is a partner university of my university in Austria made the whole application process significantly easier. Nevertheless, since everything was new here for me, there were some difficulties I had to face. The main problem was that I had to hand in so many different forms and certificates, like financial records, proof of insurance, etc. that it took me a long time to gather all the documents that I needed. Thankfully, Ms. Lyn Sawyer from the Graduate Admission and Records office, helped me out with all my problems and made my life a lot easier.”

3. Was the transition difficult? How do you feel about your studies here in comparison to Austria?
“Although I did not have any real struggles adapting to studying at CNU, there are a lot of differences to what I am used to from studying in Austria. The main difference is how the classes are scheduled. Here at CNU each class is scheduled two or three times a week for a period of 60 or 75 minutes. In Austria we usually have one block per class lasting three to four hours. Each day we have just one of these blocks and for every class we have about ten of these blocks in ten consecutive weeks.
Once we have had all blocks for one class we take a final exam which makes up around 60%-100% of the course grade, so that is another difference in that we do not have Midterms and Finals and potential other quizzes as part of our final grade.
I have not decided which “system” I like better yet. In my opinion the both have their advantages and disadvantages.”

4. Do you have any advice for students who are considering studying abroad themselves?
“The most important piece of advice is “do it”. I know it may seem scary at first moving to an unknown location for one or two semesters, and it might sometimes cause you headaches making all the arrangements but it is worth all that trouble once you are there. In my opinion spending some time abroad really broadens your horizon and lets you make experiences that are truly priceless.
Other than that, I think it is really important to start early with gathering information and start the application process for a semester abroad as early as possible. The sooner you start, the less stressful it will be towards the end.”

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