Semester Abroad in Georgia: From Tyrol to Tbilisia
Semesters abroad are an integral part of the full-time Bachelor's degree program at the University of Applied Sciences (FH) Kufstein Tirol. For Elena, this meant she spent her fifth semester abroad at the University of Georgia (UG) in Tbilisi, the country's capital.
Georgia is situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, sharing its borders with Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey, and Russia. Georgia also shares Ukraine's fate, with two Georgian regions being occupied by Russia: Abkhazia and South Ossetia. "Georgia is a diverse, beautiful, and unique country. Even though it's only as big as Bavaria, it has a lot to offer. The country spans three climate zones – from subtropical to continental-dry to alpine," the student reports.
Partner university & study
The University of Georgia (UG) is located just outside the city center, in the Saburtalo district, easily accessible by bus or metro. The courses are held at the same time every week throughout the semester, making it easy to plan ahead and use free time for travel.
"In most subjects, there are weekly quizzes held at the beginning of the class session, and it's not uncommon for instructors to show up to the course about 20 minutes late," the student reflects on some differences compared to her home university in Kufstein. "In the courses I selected, there are many students from Nigeria, Iran, and India – a fascinating mix of different cultures," the student raves.
The on-site support from the International Relations Office (IRO) is excellent, confirms Elena. "Nutsa and Mariami are always available for questions and concerns and do their best to ensure everything runs smoothly for the exchange students," the student says about the IRO service team on-site.
The student's highlight
The student's most significant learning outcome is straightforward and clear: "Through cultural exchange with locals, I get to see Georgia from different perspectives, which enhances and expands my intercultural skills," summarizes Elena, a vital reason to undertake a semester abroad, even if it means stepping out of one's comfort zone.
Travel, country, people, & special features
"Using small buses called 'Marshrutka,' it's possible to travel quite inexpensively and uncomplicatedly from A to B – almost every corner of the country can be explored. If you want to get off the bus on the way, just shout 'gamichere' (stop) to the bus driver (always men), and they stop immediately," Elena summarizes her experiences.
She's also thrilled by the people: "Georgians are incredibly hospitable and warm-hearted people. They are very proud of their country, traditions, and culture. If one thing is certain, it's that in their society, wine or Chacha will be drunk, and there will be dancing and/or singing," the student adds.
According to Elena, a striking Georgian legend illustrates the population's pride in their country: "After God created the earth, he distributed land among the various nations. However, the Georgians were missing; they only appeared after the distribution had already finished. Cheerfully, they began to sing and dance. God took pity and gave the Georgians the piece of land he had intended to keep for himself."
A scholarship makes it possible – Even outside of Europe
A scholarship made Elena's semester abroad possible. "The Erasmus+ scholarship is a valuable support for me, allowing me to finance my semester abroad - from accommodation to Georgian cuisine. It also enables me to travel the country because every region is unique and worth visiting," the student summarizes.
Elena received her scholarship from the Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility program. This funding is specifically for studies at partner universities located in selected countries outside of Europe, as in this case, in Georgia. Under the "Erasmus+ International Mobility" program, the scholarship includes a monthly funding rate and a one-time travel expense grant.
- Link to the Partner University - University of Georgia (UG)
- Link to the Sports, Culture & Event Management – Full-Time – Bachelor's Degree Program (fh-kufstein.ac.at)
- Link to the International Partner Universities – University of Applied Sciences Kufstein Tirol (fh-kufstein.ac.at)
- Link zu Erasmus+ Stipendien