International Summer Program 2009
by Yevgenia Gaber
Now, that the fascinating one month of Strobl experience is over it may be the very time to look back and try to sum up all achievements and shortcomings, all successes and failures that have happened since the beginning of the program.
For everyone who has ever had a unique chance to feel him/herself a part of the multinational and multicultural Strobl community, or to be more precise, this numerous but still very friendly Strobl family, it would be rather easy to understand that actually the life of all Stroblers seem to be clearly divided into two parts – “before” and “after” the SHS.
In the sense of education, it means that you will never get satisfied merely with what you have learnt so far, but will search for new and alternative ways of studying and examining this world, be it a survey on the political system of some definite country, an analysis of economic situation in the region or a research on the institutional framework of an international organization. Obviously, it is impossible just within 4-weeks’ course to get a comprehensive knowledge in all fields of study and to receive exhaustive explanation of all political, economic, legal and cultural processes taking place in the modern world. However, what the SHS aims at, is to provide a broad multidisciplinary and multidimensional overview of the current international system, to give an incentive for further studying, to become that driving force that will lead its students towards future investigations, more profound and more specialized in research area.
Stimulating, provocative, exciting, the European Studies courses motivate to inquire, discuss, debate, analyze and make decisions, consider all points of view and make your own conclusions. As one professor put it, now we are all “confused but on a higher level” – a result of one-month’s efforts and endeavors that is still more inducing that discouraging to continue working in the same direction.
In the sense of world perception, the SHS has caused for such dramatic changes in our mentality that since the Strobl-mingling a Chinese will lend an attentive ear to the news on TV once a word about Chili was mentioned; and an Austrian will consider the recent developments in the Ukrainian society as if he/she has been living there for ages. This cohesion amongst the Stroblers makes us feel at home wherever we may be; this network of friendly ties extending as far as from Tokyo to Kampala, from Washington to Saint-Petersburg and from Tehran to Brussels makes the globe smaller and condensed. Strobl is a unique place for learning together and from one another above origins, interests and institutions in a relaxed atmosphere of loyalty and equality where all sorts of borders and prejudices fade away, horizons are expanded, common outlook is broadened, new countries and cultures are discovered.
For me personally the International Summer Program of the University of Vienna is first and foremost about studying but never confined to it. It is about meeting new people, forming new bounds, opening new opportunities and exploring new directions. So, if occasionally I were asked to transcribe the SHS abbreviation, I would probably spell it like this:
Studying – Holiday-making – Socializing, which seems to be the best combination ever possible.
Yevgenia Gaber, Ukraine, 2009