The First Engineers in Salzburg

Article and photos by Patrick Doherty

As the first engineers at UP to study abroad in Salzburg for a whole semester, we were the “guinea pigs” testing this new program. The Shiley School of Engineering partnered with the University of Applied Science Upper Austria (FHOÖ) to teach us Dynamics and Strength of Materials (in addition to core classes offered at the UP Salzburg Center). One day a week throughout the semester, the three of us took a one-hour train ride to the university located in Wels, Austria. Classes were taught in English to a wide-ranging group of international students. It was fascinating to talk to this diverse group of people with so many different perspectives. With all these international students, we could hear up to seven languages being spoken in the same room!

The Dynamics and Mechanics of Materials classes we took at Wels were both enriching and challenging. It was difficult to adjust to the different teaching styles of our professors. It was difficult to follow their explanations at times, and our final grades were almost entirely based upon the exams we took. Though difficult, these classes gave us a perspective as to how people learn in different parts of the world. Just as we found it challenging to take long lectures without out-of-class work, an Austrian may find it challenging to be bombarded with projects and homework. We enjoyed this change of perspective, and we even learned a bit about our own culture in the process.

Overall, the three of us were grateful to help spearhead this program. Our professors were very accommodating, and we met a lot of great people both in Wels and at the Salzburg center. We’ll proudly carry the memories and friendships we made here as we move toward the future.