From the hearts of the people

1st Blog: By Bernhard Fankhauser- Monday, 24 October 2022, 3:59 PM


When I arrived in Liechtenstein there was a calm, almost idyllic atmosphere in the air, like being in a small village. I got out and was welcomed by Ermal. At that time there were only a few roommates and Ermal took the time to show us everything the dorm had to offer. In the evening, when almost all roommates had arrived, we gathered in one of the kitchens and were warmly welcomed by Gabriela and a former student. They had cooked for all of us. We had a delicious curry with rice and naan. The evening was very nice, you immediately felt right at home....

A few days later, for the university's orientation week, I was in the big hall at the university. There were all kinds of information sessions. We were given a tour of the different departments, the studio, the lecture rooms and more, and Pascal showed us the workshop and the machines that were there. Time was taken for us. Something that never happened to me in Munich. If you don't have an appointment, you're only referred to later, whereas here you can turn to a member of the university staff with any question, or even to fellow students, who are there to help and advise you without having to check the schedule to see if they have time for me at all.

What I also noticed is that people here are on a first-name basis, whether at the university or while shopping. And even if you meet while walking on the street, you are greeted briefly but warmly. Such personal interaction was a welcome change from Munich, where you usually don't even know your neighbors down the hall and everyone is a stranger to each other. At the same time, the interaction also brought back memories of my childhood in Pertisau, a small village of eight hundred souls near Innsbruck. Where the mayor was a former farmer, now big into tourism, who still came from the material, from the craft, unlike in Munich....

Beyond that, you also experience a trust in each other which you would miss elsewhere. It almost feels natural to have this attitude about each other, whether it reveals itself to me in the small, incidental things, like the water glasses that stand around at the water dispenser in the university in case someone doesn't have a bottle with them or simply prefers to drink from a glass, or in the meaningful, important things. For example, you ask if you can borrow a car for a short time to bring the models to the university, which is allowed in a self-evident manner, or if it would be okay to borrow a little cash, whereby you get without much hesitation, not only the little cash, but the whole wallet, so that you can afford it, if you should still find something while shopping.

 The only event that happened to me during my time here, and made me realize that in the end we are all only human and no angels, was the theft of my beloved racing bike. I had left it with a bike lock at the Rheinpark Stadium and traveled home to visit my family. When I returned, my bike had disappeared from the face of the earth. Along with the lock, it had been stolen without leaving even a hint of a trace.
But apart from that, I was positively surprised over and over again by the mentality of the people of Liechtenstein, who deal with each other as if they were one big family, as if their hearts were connected to each other.