The European Alliance on Agricultural knowledge for Development

My name is Sokuntheary REACH. I am a student of Master of Science in Sustainable Ecosystem Management at University of Battambang, Cambodia who has been granted an amazing opportunity to go on a student exchange under the support of E+MS Food Security and Climate Change at the University of Natural Resource and Life Science (BOKU), Austria. I found the opportunity on the webpage of MS Food Security and Climate Change. My passion is learning new things and interacting with new people. That’s why I am here, in the heart of Europe and a cultural center, Vienna, Austria. My dream since childhood is to study abroad and hope to utilize my acquired knowledge and experience to contribute back to my beloved country. I hope to help young people to realize their dreams.

New experience in the cultural center of Europe

I will never forget my first day in Vienna, Austria. I was so excited to come here. I arrived at Vienna airport at 9 AM. I found my friend who was supposed to meet us at the airport, and we headed into the city and go to find my dormitory. Vienna is very different from Cambodia, especially the temperature and culture. When I arrived here on that day the temperature is only 1°C.  I feel like I am in the fridge. I also think about the culture which is very different from Cambodia. In Cambodia when we meet the other people we will salute to each other. But in Austria when we meet the other people we just shack the hand or hug each other. As I haven’t traveled outside of Asia before, Vienna is charming, rustic, peaceful and generally, a happy place to live.

Nice people and staff and incrediable academic environment at BOKU

After arrival, I went to the International Students’ Office and I met with my counselor and some other staff working there. They were very nice people and they tried to help me in many ways. It’s very important to set up a plan for this semester, to choose the right classes for my major, and the counselor is always willing to help students with those sorts of things (or even with how to find the right bus).

It was inflexible to find available open classes that I should take for my major as I started registering late – just 3 days before my classes started. Most of the other students had registered much further in advance, but I may perhaps not do this previously from my country. Lastly and all being well, I had chosen 5 classes for the summer semester. Then my first university classes started! Of course, the first day at a new place is kind of unusual, because you don’t recognize anybody, but I rapidly grew used to the university’s atmosphere meeting new friends. It was quite interesting to meet people from all around the world.

In conclusion, I want to say that it is wonderful to be an international student in a foreign country like Austria. And I am pretty confident that I will do well with my dreams and I will do my best.