“You might not find that waterfall you were expecting”

Taking part in an International Summer University program usually takes students out of their comfort zones. WU student Alexandra Petrescu spent a few weeks in Indonesia and made a similar experience. Nevertheless, she wouldn’t change a thing – read about her experiences here in our Interview. 

WU Blog: Which aspects did you like most about the academic program?

Alexandra Petrescu: First of all, it was very interesting to hear about the way of conducting business in Indonesia as an emerging market. We’ve learned a lot about potential challenges and opportunities that might occur when entering the market. The classes definitely helped creating a deeper cross-cultural understanding. Additionally, I really enjoyed the interactive discussion-based style of the program, which led to a deeply interesting exchange of different views and opinions due to the diverse background of every student.

WU Blog: Which aspects did you like most about the leisure program? Any highlights you want to mention?

Alexandra Petrescu: One of my personal highlights was without doubt the teambuilding event in the first week of the program. The problem-solving activities were not only a lot of fun, but also a great ice breaker and helped getting out of the WU Bubble and form great friendships with the Indonesian students as well, which was very beneficial for all the group work in class later on.

“Be aware of the dry season though, you might not find that waterfall you were expecting!”

Also worth mentioning is the beautiful Gala Dinner that was held for all the participants of the ISU Indonesia program. It was a nice get-together and allowed us to gain insight into the Javanese culture through the traditional Ramayana Ballet that was performed. Of course, there are also plenty of other opportunities to do some sightseeing or activities in Yogyakarta. I can highly recommend the Borobudur or Prambanan temple. Be aware of the dry season though, you might not find that waterfall you were expecting (speaking from experience).

WU Blog: Which aspects did you like most about the ISU country and WU’s partner university?

Alexandra Petrescu: The ISU committee of the UGM was very well organized and the people were super open-minded and truly kind in general. I was also surprised by the high level of English spoken, which made it easy to exchange views and follow discussions in class. The local students were also very keen to recommend us things to do in Jogja and often joined us for dinner or activities after class. It was very interesting to listen to them proudly telling us about their culture. The exchange of different views and by that creating awareness of cultural differences is what makes the ISU program so special in my opinion.

WU Blog: which are the most important experiences and learnings you could take out of the attended program?

Alexandra Petrescu: First of all, I learned a lot about the differences between doing business in Indonesia compared to doing business in Austria and how important it is for managers to be culturally aware of these differences in order to succeed abroad.

Despite all the differences though I also realized how similar these two countries are. For instance, Jogja has so many huge malls with the same shops we have in Vienna and you could tell that the local students were surrounding themselves with the same things we do when it comes to clothes, music, electronics. You could clearly see the extent of globalization.

“Despite all the differences though I also realized how similar these two countries are.”

I was especially fascinated by the technological advancement. People in Jogja use Grab/Gojek (similar to Uber in Europe) not only for ordering a car ride or food, but also hairdressers, massage and everything you can think of.

WU Blog: Do you have any tips for future ISU participants regarding the program and preparing for an ISU program in general?

Alexandra Petrescu: The program is very well organized by WU and UGM, so I wouldn’t worry too much about preparation. You should definitely be aware that things might run differently from the way you’re used to it though – for example the way one’s approaching a problem – which can be frustrating at times, but as long as you keep an open mindset and allow compromises in group assignments, I’m certain that this whole program will be an enriching experience for you as well! All in all, I couldn’t be happier to have taken part in this program and would encourage everyone to do so and get out of their comfort zone.

You’re interested in ISU@WU?

WU Vienna’s International Summer University program (ISUs) is an excellent opportunity for WU students to take part in internationally oriented short programs abroad. If you want to get to know more, don’t miss the Infosession in January & the Application period in March!

  • Infosession: January 23, 2020 at 12 noon, TC.1.02
  • Application Period: March 3 – 12, 2020, 12 noon