We talked to Marcello Alexander Gundolf about his experience in the ENGAGE.EU Online Exchange Initiative. Marcello is a student of Economics and Public Economic Law at Vienna University of Economics and Business since 2017. Continue reading to find out about his views on this online opportunity for students.
How did you hear about the Online Exchange Initiative?
I read about the ENGAGE.EU Online Exchange Initiative on the website of the Vienna University of Economics and Business. Since the program had just started, there were no recommendations of other students. However, I was so happy about it that I told my fellow students about the program. Some of them also applied to the participating universities.
What motivated you to apply for courses in Mannheim and other universities?
I learned about the ENGAGE.EU initiative during the Covid-19 pandemic and I took advantage of it to make the most of the pandemic. I thought the initiative might help me to get to know more people abroad. In the bachelor’s program at the Vienna University of Economics and Business, only a few courses were held in English. I wanted to change that for me. So, I decided to attend courses in English at the partner universities. In addition, I wanted to learn more about the University of Mannheim, its culture and students.
What was it like to study during the Covid-19 pandemic?
I liked it better than on-campus classes and I think it would be great to return to online teaching, at least in part or as an alternative for those who cannot or do not want to come to the university. You save the time spent for commuting and it is just more productive, as you can schedule the courses in a better way.
Why did you choose the courses “Economics of Monetary Unions” and “Chinese Economy”?
During my studies in Economics, I specialized in International and Development Economics and did some research on foreign direct investments to sub-Saharan African countries. China was one of the biggest creditors and I wanted to learn more about Chinese economy. I am also enthusiastic about Europe. When I studied Public Economic Law, I also studied the European Union from a legal point of view. I wanted to look at this topic from an economics perspective, which is why I applied for the course “Economics of Monetary Unions”. The Vienna University of Economics and Business did not offer these courses in this form, which made them even more appealing to me.
How would you describe your OEI experience in general (in terms of the content, technical implementation, etc.)?
I have to say that the initiative worked very well during both semesters. There were no technical issues and no problems in the courses themselves. Not only were the teachers experts in their field of study, but they also had great interpersonal skills. I have learned a lot in these courses.
Is there room for improvement or did you miss certain offers?
No, not at all. I think the University of Mannheim, in particular, has a great portfolio of courses for international students. In addition to the courses in Economics and Business Administration, I could also choose legal courses in the field of forensic analysis. I would have liked to take these courses, but they would not have been recognized by my university and I already had a busy semester. I think it would be great if the Vienna University of Economics and Business would recognize more of such courses, since there are only a few elective courses.
What would you recommend to other students of the ENGAGE.EU universities?
I am thrilled about the initiative and would recommend it to everyone. It is a tremendous added value, if you can get to know other students outside your university and to learn from each other. You work together with young, motivated students and discuss the most diverse opinions on this topic. The latter is particularly enriching because people often have very different perspectives depending on their country of origin and political views.