Arnaldo is currently pursuing his Master's programme in Entrepreneurship and Tourism at Management Center Innsbruck (MCI). He found his study programme and enrolled via Studyportals. We asked Arnaldo about his experience of searching and applying to a university abroad.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What is your name? How old are you? Where are you from?
My name is Arnaldo DeSouza, I am 35 years old and I am a British citizen born in Brazil.
Where are you studying now? What university and programme are you attending? What degree are you pursuing and how long is your programme?
I am attending a 2-year Master's in Entrepreneurship and Tourism. My chosen school is Management Center Innsbruck (MCI) in Innsbruck, Austria.
Why did you want to study abroad?
I wanted to combine my Master's studies with a chance to meet new people, learn a new language, and expose myself to a new culture. MCI Innsbruck offered me all this with a great university infrastructure in one of the most beautiful places in Europe.
Searching for study options
How did you find your study programme? Why did you choose this particular university?
During 6 months, I used Mastersportal from Studyportals. I selected only Master's degrees abroad and I gave preference to German speaking countries, like Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Studyportals was very useful, with its large database that I trusted 100% as my only source of information for my university search.
I didn’t know almost any information about the universities I chose and Studyportals gave the right amount of information I needed to find my favourite programme and later have an in-depth research.
I used Studyportals during all the stages from searching, to applicationa and enrollment. That was how I found about the courses and univesities, fees, locations, and deadlines. Even though I moved to the universities webpage, I saved my favourite courses on the portal so I could revisit the page and compare facts.
Deciding for a university
What were your main priorities when choosing your university and your programme (e.g. academics, accommodation, university services & facilities, personal & professional development, city & culture, cost & funding, practicalities, social life)?
My main priority was that the university had the programme in English and was located in a medium to large city. It had great lectures and the programme was full-time.
Was it your first study choice? What other universities did you consider? What was the main reason of your final choice?
Management Center Innsbruck was one of the 4 choices I had, along with TU Berlin, FH Krems and Heilbronn University.
Did you take a language test (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS) when applying for the programme? If yes, which one did you choose, why and how was your experience with it?
MCI requires entrance exams, so I didn't need to take the IELTS Test. MCI evaluated my English and German language skill in their admission exams.
What would be your advice for students from your country that consider to study abroad?
There are many opportunities abroad, and universities are also looking for talented and motivated students who want to bring their international perspective to school. My recommendation is to do a very good research about the universities you want to apply to. It's even better if you have the chance to visit any open house as you can talk directly to the institution staff.
How did you finance your stay abroad and what financial advice would you give to future students?
I started saving three years before I started my Master's. Tuition fees in Austria are very low compared to UK, Canada, USA and many other countries, but still, with hard work I managed to save most of the money I need in the beginning.
Why would you (not) recommend this particular city / university? How would you rate your experience on a scale from zero to ten (0 – It was a total disaster, 10 – I had the time of my life)?
Innsbruck is a beautiful city in the heart of the Alps, but it’s a university town with insufficient accommodation. My university doesn’t help with accommodation and it was very tough to find a student dorm. German is the official language of Austria, but there are many dialects. Tirol has many different ways to speak German too, and many people speak English, so learning German isn't very simple.You have to make sure you attend German classes and you really put your language knowledge into action.
Is there anything you would do differently if you could do it over again?
I had a tough start finding accommodation at a decent price. Even though the university is better than I expected, I would choose a 1-year Master's instead of a 2-year part-time programme. If you don’t work or are not allowed to work, your living costs will feel double.
What was the biggest surprise in your study abroad adventure?
Meeting amazing people from around the world, having the chance to meet Austrians and finding out how friendly and humble they are. You never get sick of living in the Alps, the nature is amazing. The mountains, the food and the culture are so rich! I also enjoy commuting everywhere with my bike. It is quicker, healthier and more environmentally friendly.