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Outgoings back @unili – Romania

Ioannis Bolanz, a German student taking an MA in Architecture, chose our partner university of Ion Mincu in Bucharest, Romania, for his exchange semester. Now back home, he tells us about his experiences of culture, language and the course and offers some tips to other exchange students.


Ioannis Bolanz, a German student taking an MA in Architecture, chose our partner university of Ion Mincu in Bucharest, Romania, for his exchange semester. Now back home, he tells us about his experiences of culture, language and the course and offers some tips to other exchange students. 


Why did you choose this country, and this university in particular, for your exchange semester? What was the language of the course? 
 
On our study trip in the spring of 2013, with the Designstudio of Professor Conradin Clavuot, we travelled through various parts of Romania, like Moldavia and Transylvania, in order to get to know the traditional building style of these regions. The trip finished with a day in Bucharest, on which we visited Ion Mincu University. Based on the work that I saw at the university, and Bucharest as a city, I decided to opt for an exchange semester in Romania.
The courses and studios were mostly given in Romanian, but this wasn’t a problem, as either the professor himself put it into English or else fellow students explained the topics.   


How did you prepare yourself for your exchange semester? What help did the team at the International Office give you?


I didn’t prepare for the exchange semester at all, apart from the formalities of our University of Liechtenstein and Ion Mincu University in Bucharest. In Bucharest itself we then had to find somewhere to live, and we managed it quite quickly with the help of our former fellow student Ioan. 
The International Office of Ion Mincu University was very warm and welcoming – they were always ready to listen to our questions. 



Painting of Cretulescu church, Bucharest


What did you look forward to most? What was the biggest challenge?

I most looked forward to living in an urban context and getting to know and live the life of the city in all its facets. As I grew up in a village where everybody knows everybody, it was quite a new experience for me to be one of a crowd. In addition I was excited at the prospect of living in Romania, as I hadn’t studied the country or its history and culture at all in the past.
 

What kind of reception and support during your studies did you get from our partner university?

 
We were very warmly and pleasantly welcomed by the university – not just by the International Office, but by many Romanian students. We established real friendships with many of our fellow students, who were then always there to help in the course of our studies or if we had any general questions.



trada Stavropoleo at the house door, Bucharest


What did you like best? What have you learned for your studies or for yourself personally as a result of this time?
 
I liked the Romanian lifestyle best – on the one hand you have people who are very energetic and ambitious, but at the same time they are capable of enjoying life to the full and very much like celebrating their enjoyment of life. As for my studies, the drawings by hand that I saw at Ion Mincu University made a great impression on me, and showed me how important the lead pencil or draughtsman’s pencil is as a tool of the trade for architects.  


What recommendations would you give to other University of Liechtenstein students who are likewise planning an exchange semester?
 
Generally speaking I would advise anyone to study for a semester abroad. It expands your personal horizon, not just as a result of the course you are taking, but more because of the insights it gives you into a different culture. It is very important to get into contact with local people, as they make it easier for you to experience their country, culture and language.
As a result of your new experiences you develop a new angle on your studies, and on your personal life as well, and you can more easily put yourself in another person’s shoes – which in my view can be useful in your future path of development.


THUMBNAIL SKETCH – Ioannis Bolanz
Country of origin: Germany
Living in the region of: Vaduz
uni.li course: Master’s in Architecture
Semesters: 3

Exchange semester
Country: Romania
Partner university chosen: Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism
Number of semesters: 1
Living in: a shared apartment



On the road in Chisinau, Moldavia