In the meantime, check out our students' experience reports and read about their adventures in Innsbruck: Students' Experience Reports
Thank you for participating at our online information event "Studying in Innsbruck"! If you missed the event, but you are interested in spending an exchange semester at the University of Innsbruck, please get in touch with the International Office at your home university or contact us for further questions: email@example.com
In the meantime, check out our students' experience reports and read about their adventures in Innsbruck: Students' Experience Reports
Finally, we were able to welcome our first Erasmus+ Staff Training participants back to the University of Innsbruck!
AIANI was happy to welcome Prof. Rachel Dekel and Oz Nackar from our partner institution the Bar-Ilan University (BIU). Prof. Dekel, the academic head of the International School at BIU, and Mr. Nackar, the Director for Student Exchange spent a week at the University of Innsbruck to learn more about AIANI, the International Services at the University of Innsbruck, as well as about student exchange procedures, workflows, experiences etc.
They met with several colleagues to discuss structures, policies, possible solutions to challenges and to exchange ideas, perspectives, and methods.
They also met up with one of our exchange students from Bar-Ilan University, who is currently working on her PhD research thesis at the University of Innsbruck.
Thankfully, the weather also allowed our guests to enjoy the city as well as the surrounding mountains and some local food.
„One has to switch from the view of judging to the view of observing, in order to understand a different perspective and the meaning of the land of milk and honey,“ said the photographer Israel Ariel from Jerusalem at the Finissage of the photo exhibition „Promised Land – Israel between Vision and Reality“. His photographs were shown at the Theological Faculty of the University of Innsbruck for four months.
Together with the co-organizers of the exhibition and accompanying guest lectures, Prof. Gabriele Werner-Felmayer (MUI) and Dr. Noam Zadoff (LFUI), the AIANI-Team was glad to welcome the artist back to Innsbruck for a small closing reception of the exhibition.
AIANI wants to take this opportunity and thank the co-organizers as well as the sponsors of the photo exhibition and the five guest lectures. All events could take place, despite very challenging and less than ideal circumstances. Thank you for your support!
We were – once again and after last year´s great success – able to organize a special course for interested students with Assaf Ben-David, LL.M, a commercial lawyer, who is specializing in Startups and a lecturer in Entrepreneurship, Law & International Business Negotiations at our partner institution, the Reichman University (former IDC Herzliya College) in Israel. He will be again teaching the course „International Business Negotiations“ during the summer semester 2022!
This special course is organized by AIANI in collaboration with the Law School of the University of Innsbruck and the Peking University in China. It is a rare opportunity for students to take part in a unique course together with students from Peking University in China, to learn the art of international business negotiations.
Participants will gain insight into the dynamics of negotiating and structuring international business transactions and learn about the role that lawyers and/or business advisors play in these negotiations.
All this while having fun through interactive learning and practical hands on experience!
Registration starts today, February 1, 2022, and will be open until March 1, 2022.
You can sign up via LFU:online:
301020 VU International Business Negotiations
Please find all further information here:
New Course at the University of Innsbruck by Att. Assaf Ben-David
Here are some comments of students that took this course in the past summer semester:
AIANI Guest Lecture on "Vom Traum zur Wirklichkeit: Der Zionismus und der Staat Israel" by Dr. Noam Zadoff
The final talk of the lecture series “Promised Land - Israel between Vision and Reality“ took place on 24 January, 2022. The AIANI team was very pleased to welcome all participants to this last lecture of our series! Even though, it had to be held online like the previous lectures, there was quite a high number of attendees which demonstrates the lively interest in the topic.
Dr. Noam Zadoff, Assistant Professor at the Department of Contemporary History at the University of Innsbruck, talked about the Zionist movement, which was founded in Europe at the end of the 19th century, its development as well as changes of different Zionist ideologies.
The online lecture was moderated by Dr. Eric Burton from the Department of Contemporary History at the University of Innsbruck.
About the topic:
The Zionist movement was founded in Europe at the end of the 19th century. Its goal was to solve the so-called "Jewish question" by defining Judaism as a nation (and not a religion). By returning to the land of origin, the land of Israel/Palestine, various "Zionist thinkers" wanted to redeem the Jewish people from their "abnormal" existence in exile, and unite the Jewish Diaspora into a "normal" nation, equal to all other nations.
With the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the political goal of Zionism was achieved. However, emotionally and intellectually, the Zionist ideology remained as a central part of Israeli society. At the same time, after 1948, Zionism was forced to change and seek new goals.
In Dr. Zadoff's lecture, the process of fulfilling the "Zionist dream" was analyzed through the examples of various Zionist ideologies.
AIANI wants to thank Dr. Zadoff, Dr. Burton and all participants for a very interesting evening event.
For all of you, who are interested in this topic and our lecture series, please find more information here:
Promised Land - Israel between Vision and Reality
The photo exhibition will be shown at least until mid-February 2022, on the1st floor, in the corridor area of the Faculty of Theology.
Prof. Yael Hashiloni Dolev in conversation with Prof. Gabriele Werner-Felmayer on "Bioethics in Israeli Society"
On Wednesday, January 19, 2022, the first AIANI guest talk in 2022 took place!
As continuation of our Lecture Series “Promised Land – Israel between Vision and Reality” Prof. Yael Hashiloni Dolev from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (Israel) met virtually with Prof. Gabriele Werner-Felmayer from the Medical University of Innsbruck to discuss a particularly complex and exciting topic: Bioethics in Israel.
In this conversation, the focus was put on Prof. Hashiloni Dolev’s newest sociological research in the fields of gender medicine and on new fertility technologies such as fetal genetic tests, fetal gender selection, birth after death and egg freezing.
Prof. Hashiloni Dolev said that the wide range of new technologies allows her to ask sociological questions about the relationship between science and society, about gender, family and attitudes to disability and illness. These factors were discussed by the two researchers as well as changes in the Israeli society and therefore new perspectives on these topics.
Prof. Hashiloni Dolev said that what appears to be progress and an opening to choice or empowerment is quite often also the loss of freedom. She said that it's very important that humanities and social sciences contribute to understanding the technological and scientific world, where there are huge advantages but also dangers which are not insignificant.
AIANI wants to thank Prof. Yael Hashiloni Dolev and Prof. Gabriele Werner-Felmayer for taking the time and speaking about this very interesting topic. Also thank you to all participants who joined us for our first virtual guest talk this year.
A Conversation with Ramona Pohn, OeAD Lecturer at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and former AIANI Exchange Student
Ramona Pohn was an AIANI exchange student in 2019 at Beit Berl College in Kfar Saba. After getting her degree in German Philology at the University of Innsbruck, she moved back to pursue her dream of working and living in Israel. Ramona is now working for Austria's Agency for Education and Internationalisation (OeAD) and teaching at the Center for Austrian and German Studies at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. AIANI spoke with her about her experiences so far as well as her current job.
AIANI: It is great to hear from you again, Ramona! Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. How are you and what’s going on with you?
Ramona: Thanks as well for talking to me. Well, right now I live in Tel Aviv and work at the university in the city of Beersheba [Ben-Gurion University]. I’m there as a lecturer for the OeAD: Their lecturers are sent to different countries as transmitters of Austrian culture, so to speak. So basically, what we do is teaching the language, German, and also teaching cultural studies. In my case, I’m at the Center for Austrian and German Studies at the university in Beersheba and we are instructed to organize academic events and workshops and so on in order to connect Austrian and Israeli culture.
AIANI: So you pursued this lectureship after graduating. Was this inspired by your semester abroad as an AIANI exchange student?
Ramona: For sure. I went there in the spring of 2019. I was actually at Beit Berl College which is a small college outside of Tel Aviv. It was a great time and it was also my first glimpse into what the country really has to offer. I was so fascinated in many different ways—politically and historically, and in terms of the people. And that’s why I decided to go back after graduating.
AIANI: Why did you choose Israel for your semester abroad when you were still a student at the University of Innsbruck?
Ramona: Well there were several options and I decided to choose Israel because especially Tel Aviv was very attractive for me from what I’ve heard; and Israel seemed to be the country with the most input for me. And I thought that I could learn so much from the country and that actually turned out to be true.
AIANI: So now you’re back in Israel through an OeAD lectureship. Tell us how this came off.
Ramona: Yes, indeed, well, my initial plan was to apply at some institution that sends people abroad—to Israel specifically. So I was lucky and honoured enough to get a job through the OeAD and be a lecturer there because I really wanted to be in Israel while having my academic career supported.
AIANI: Tell us about your current job. We heard that you held a presentation at the 28th International Congress of FILLM (International Federation for Modern Languages and Literatures) at the University of Vienna in July 2021, on “Linguistic, Literary and Cultural Diversity in a Global Perspective”. Your presentation was about the aspect of “liveness” in the contemporary theatre and literary scene in the era of Zoom and co. So why did you choose to explore this specific topic?
Ramona: I think what is amazing about my lectureship is that the OeAD makes it very clear that we are free in our individual research and academic development. As I also have connections with the cultural and literary scene, I personally thought that there are so many developments happening in the COVID era that artists, theatre directors, literature houses, etc. find themselves facing problems with, especially concerning questions of hosting actual events, how to perform, how to provide art and make them accessible to people. So people started getting creative and I got so inspired by this creativity of what people did, like this virtual participative Facebook theatre of Effi Briest that I saw. These developments and creative solutions interested me, and it’s a good thing that my lectureship allows me to be flexible enough to pursue my own research interests, which is amazing.
AIANI: We’d like to ask you about the student experience and the teaching experience. What can you tell us about the similarities and differences of the campus life in Austria and Israel—from your perspective as a former student and as a current lecturer?
Ramona: Wow, that’s really an interesting question because as an Erasmus student at Beit Berl College, I had a very intense experience of knowing what an actual student campus is, because I had never experienced that perception at the same level as I did in Austria. In Innsbruck, I was not living on campus where everything seems to be concentrated in one place. At Beit Berl College, as a student, you are literally part of the university and that makes a huge community possible. Still, I have to say that Beit Berl College is very small, so it’s not like a lot of events are happening or that so much is going on just like in the movies that give a different view of college campuses. But what I find super inspiring, and taking into account Beit Berl College’s agricultural focus, is that the campus was very much like a commune. We had gardening courses where we took vegetables home and distributed them to different houses; we lived very close to each other and every morning we would have big breakfasts together. So it was like a very big family, and this familial space was inspiring for me because I loved going traveling every weekend to explore the country and every time I went back to this “family” in campus, it was very beautiful.
AIANI: So you would say that, at least for Beit Berl College, the sense of community is more essential than in Innsbruck?
Ramona: I think essentially, looking at it from a living perspective, in Innsbruck it is common to live in shared flats. So you have your student life, you have shared flats, and house parties and these kinds of stuff which characterize life in Innsbruck. But at Beit Berl, the emphasis is more on the community lifestyle somewhere in the field, which is very different in itself. But I should stress that this experience is more specific to studying in a place like Beit Berl College, and not somewhere like in Tel Aviv where the student experience might be more similar to Innsbruck.
AIANI: As you are teaching German: Can you give as an idea on the perceptions of your students on learning German? What are their views on the cultures of Germany, Austria, and on the German-speaking world in general?
Ramona: Yes, well I’m also still researching on that issue by the way. The German Embassy actually was working recently on a survey on how the German language is perceived in Israel; and we still have the issue that it’s perceived mainly, in categorical terms, neutral to negative. There is not much positive associations with the German language unfortunately, and this is what we are trying to change. Of course, we have the fact that historically the main factor in influencing this perception is of course the Shoah. But there is also the perception of German being harsh and hard to learn. I try in my teaching to also make them see new aspects about the language and culture.
AIANI: Besides this, are you also engaged in other research interests? Are you engaged in other ongoing projects?
Ramona: I am engaged in a project that will take place in April 2022, about theatre and diversity. And in a way, I feel instructed by my job to transmit the Austrian culture and show that we’re more than Mozart and Sisi; that we are more—more diverse, more colourful, and there are so many nationalities living in Austria and I want to show that the country has a lot to offer culturally. And this project includes an input by a famous theatre director and migration expert living in Vienna who will come to Israel to talk about diversity in theatre in general and the diversity in theatre in Austria. In a way, this project connects my interest in the diversity in the cultural scene.
AIANI: Do you have any advice or insights for prospective students who think about studying a semester abroad in Innsbruck?
Ramona: Just be open enough to the places and what they specifically can give you. Because for Innsbruck for example, the city has so much to offer. It feels like you just have to go with the flow. You come to Innsbruck and the first thing you see are the mountains. Get yourself connected with people, join Facebook groups, etc. There are so many hiking groups to join and take advantage of the opportunities of what the city provides and get to know people. But if you’re not into hiking, it doesn’t really matter because there’s so many alternatives and many things to do that can connect people. And it’s the people you meet which, in the end, make the difference.
AIANI: And to conclude, any advice for those who would like to apply for a semester abroad in Israel?
Ramona: As for Israel, there are many places to study. So I suggest deciding carefully on what you want. Because Tel Aviv would be so much different than studying in Jerusalem or in Beit Berl College. So it’s really important to understand the place, but it is also very interesting to connect with people in Israel as they are so open. So go and explore, and travel a lot. Go to a coffee shop in Tel Aviv and you’ll leave the shop with an amazing conversation. I promise that. And that’s the reason why I moved to Tel Aviv, and it is always interesting every day and that is the joy in openness.
AIANI: Ramona, thank you very much for your time and good luck!
Ramona: Thank you too!
We are happy to share the AIANI Activity Report 2021! As you can see, AIANI was able to carry out a good number of projects and activities, even though the pandemic continued to interfere with our lives and posed a big challenge for all of us.
It became the “new normal” to hold meetings online, to plan projects with flexible dates, to plan and postpone, and reschedule on a regular basis. Another difficult year, but with many highlights, nevertheless.
We were able to overcome these new challenges also thanks to our partners, colleagues, supporters and friends. So a big THANK YOU goes out to them for their commitment, dedication and valuable support throughout the year.
Find the report here:
AIANI Activity Report 2021
AIANI Guest Lecture on “Disability in Israel: Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Diverse Parts of Israeli Society" by Dr. Adi Finkelstein
Dr. Adi Finkelstein from the Department of Nursing, Jerusalem College of Technology and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Medicine, held the third lecture of the lecture series “Promised Land - Israel between Vision and Reality“ on December 2, 2021. Just like the previous lectures it had to be moved to the virtual room. Dr. Finkelstein focused in her talk on “Disability in Israel: Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Diverse Parts of Israeli Society”, on the situation of people with disabilities in the Arab and ultra-orthodox sector of Israeli society.She also gave examples of several studies conducted in these two sectors, especially the ultra-orthodox society.
She presented to the audience a community engagement project carried out by the Jerusalem College of Technology, where students help to promote the rights of Haredi people with disabilities and their integration into the society.
The lecture was moderated by Prof. Lisa Pfahl from the interdisciplinary research field of Disability Studies at the Department of Education at the University of Innsbruck. The talk took place one day before the world commemorates the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, initiated by the United Nations.
The second talk of the lecture series “Promised Land“ took place on November 22, 2021. Just like the opening lecture, the event was initially planned as an in-person event, but due to the Covid-19 situation had to be switched to an online format. Dr. Julie Grimmeisen, Academic Director of the Consulate of the State of Israel, Munich, talked about “Frauen in Israel: Soldatinnen und Mütter“.
Dr. Noam Zadoff welcomed the guests and lead through the evening. In her talk, which was supported by the Research Platform Center Interdisciplinary Gender Studies Innsbruck (CGI) at the University of Innsbruck, Dr. Grimmeisen first talked about the historical developments of the role of women in Israeli society.
She stated that the Zionist movements at the beginning of the 20th century aimed to build a society based on equality between the sexes. With the founding of the state, a number of revolutionary laws were put in place to strengthen the status of women in society. These included compulsory military service for women. Dr. Grimmeisen pointed out that Israeli society today, is still a very family-oriented society and that motherhood had always remained one of the main tasks of women.
“For a long time, a traditional division of roles also determined their duties in the Israeli army. Gender equality in Israel today is complex, like the country itself”, so Dr. Grimmeisen. The lecture was an introduction to Israel and its society from the perspective of the achievements and challenges of Israeli women – a very exciting, but often unmentioned, side.