Last fall, the School of Information Studies played host to three exchange students from the Upper Austria University of Applied Sciences in Hagenberg, Austria. They sat down with Inside SOIS to share some of their experiences.
Inside SOIS: Please introduce yourselves!
SH: My name is Stefani Hager, I’m 21 years old and I live in part of Austria where we actually live in the Alps in the mountains.
My interests are in design and in graphics. I love working on computer graphics.
MP: My name is Marlene Pieter, I’m 21 years old. I’m from Linz and my interests are marketing and public relations.
AP: My name is Alexander Pinkla, and I’m from St. Martin, which is near Linz, but more in the countryside. I’m 23 years old and my interests are more in the technical aspects like programming and web development.
IS: Why did you decide to come to Milwaukee?
SH: Hagenberg is a partner university with UWM. Dr. Michael Fruehmann, our professor at Hagenberg, made the connection with both universities. It’s an exchange; our university takes two or more of your students, and your university takes two of more of our students. It’s part of the Bachelor of Social Sciences program.
IS: Do you get credit for your time here in Milwaukee?
AP: We have to do an internship in our fifth semester, so we’re here working to get credit.
IS: Tell me about your individual experiences. How have you adjusted?
SH: I’ve learned that work can actually be fun [laughs]. I’ve enjoyed working on all the projects like the advertisement video, and right now we’re doing another video. It’s very creative and I love being creative, designing things, making video. I can go and ask Rebecca [Hall] or Chad [Zahrt] any time and they’ll tell me what to do. I just feel that I’m free to do what I want to do.
MP: I think I found out that I can be more confident about my work. I’m working on a project that I just started. I’ve worked on this project from start to finish. I’ll do a presentation on it. I just have more confidence.
AP: I like that there was good diversity of projects. We could all use our abilities. I’m working on programming, Steffi is very creative and Marlene has her marketing project, so it’s great.
IS: The advertisement project in Bolton Hall is great. Can you talk a little bit about making it?
SH: We had a meeting with Rebecca Hall and we talked about the purpose of the old video.
AP: When you walk past it, you want to watch it.
SH: So Rebecca told us what she wanted and we started drawing sketches. We collected a lot of ideas. Then we had another meeting with more staff members to show them our ideas. The staff gave their input and we did some more design. Alex wrote a program that would play the images quickly and in the end we had this great video.
IS: You’re also involved in doing a virtual tour of SOIS, is that right?
AP: Yes. That’s the project we’re finishing right now. It’s a project for the distance education students. They want to know the staff here, who is teaching them. So we were asked to make a virtual tour for the DE students, to meet the staff. Marlene is our actor and she asks the staff questions so that they can introduce themselves.
SH: Everything is filmed from the new student’s point of view. Alex walks around with the camera and Marlene was introducing him to the staff. The viewer can actually feel like they are being given the tour.
IS: So Marlene, you were the actress? Have you acted before?
MP: No, not really. It was my first acting experience, but it was pretty cool. I thought that I would be more nervous. But I think that I did a good job. Hopefully [laughs].
IS: What are some things that you will use or apply to your degree or career in Austria?
SH: Definitely the language. Having the experience of speaking English all the time and saying that you had your internship in American is a definite plus. My experience with Flash and PremierPro and the programs that I used here will definitely help me when I go in the direction of graphic design and more creative things. I think I learned a lot and I’m glad to take all of this back home.
MP: Yes, the enhancement of my English skills is really good. I also found out that I really enjoy doing research projects. So maybe I can combine this with marketing or public relations. I don’t know, that would be cool.
AP: I think we increased our skills to work on our own projects. We always had an outline for our projects, but we had to make the important decisions on our own. That was very cool.
IS: So what’s next? What happens after you graduate?
SH: I plan to come back to America for at least one year. I really like being in America; I’ve got a lot of relatives and friends here now. I really enjoy the language and the people. The only thing I have to figure out is the green card thing!
MP: I’m thinking about maybe combining the Bachelor of Social Science with a business degree to go in a public marketing area. That’s my plan.
AP: I still hope to graduate [laughs]. I plan to eventually get a Master’s but maybe I’ll take a break and work for a year or two in-between.
SOIS Thanks you for your good work and we wish all three of you the best of luck!