Passion for language and culture

Ateesha Sethia’s decision to study in Klagenfurt was a thoughtful one. After all, the student of English and American Studies and International Management, has been to over 40 countries and lived in 6 countries before choosing to stay here. After growing up in a city of 15 million people, calling herself a “big-city-person”, she values Klagenfurt as a city that offers the best of both worlds – an abundance of nature and still, all the amenities of a big city. 

Why did you decide to study? How did you choose our university?
Let’s just say I chanced upon Klagenfurt by accident and decided to stay back here on purpose. My stay in Klagenfurt was supposed to be a small pit-stop for a few months but I absolutely fell in love with the laid-back feel of the place.

When and how did you find out what you wanted to study?
I arrived here with a degree in Media and Communications but had always been interested in languages and culture. I decided to pursue my love for the English language and enroll myself in the bachelor program because it is my absolute passion, simultaneously I am pursuing my Master’s in International Management.

What moment will always remind you of your studies here?
There are so many key moments that I will always look back at fondly! I love the nights I spent with all the international students watching the sun go down (and often up again) at the beautiful lake. The different events we organized on campus such as the treasure hunts, game nights, networking events and most importantly the friendships that I will cherish forever.

What makes your studies special to you?
What stood out the most to me is how the professors always take out time for you. They are open to discussions and encourage you to engage with the content. I have had the privilege of studying in 3 continents and the methodology here is by far my absolute favourite.

What topics do you like most about your degree programme?
My favourite has to be linguistics because of how methodological it is. It even allows me to combine my knowledge from the business masters and look at it from a different perspective. For example, I wrote my thesis on the effects of anglicisms in German advertising using my knowledge of linguistics and marketing. Of course, as an avid reader, I absolutely loved the literature courses just as much. I am especially partial to poetry.

How do you explain the contents of your studies to your family or friends?
My parents are both academics, so they are fully supportive of my educational choices, and I luckily did not have to explain what I want to study and what underpins my choices.

Did you go abroad during your studies? Tell us about it.
I plan to spend my final semester at King’s College in London. I am really looking forward to the upcoming adventure!

Where do you seek for help if you need something or get stuck at the university?
The student representatives and the student’s union (ÖH). They are always more than willing to help and helped me out more than once in my first year here. I was also a student representative during the course of my studies and know first-hand how rewarding it is to get involved.

Has your view of the world changed through your studies?
A hopeful young girl entered this campus and through my time here I have “cocooned” into a confident young woman ready to take on the world. It broadened my horizon in more ways than I can count.

What do you like about being a student?
I love the community! I haven’t met a more open community than students. Everyone is always so supportive and helpful!

Why should one study at our university?
The lake. Need I say more? If you are still not convinced, then consider this; In under half a day you could drive to at least 10 different countries – #Dream.

What do you like about Klagenfurt?
The laid-back feel of the place. I have always been a big city person – my “hometown” Kolkata has a population of about 15 million people! – but Klagenfurt offers the best of both worlds. A small town feel with an abundance of nature, yet it has all the amenities of a big city. The ideal location where you can spontaneously drive to Italy for pizza or go visit the castle in Ljubljana at the drop of a hat, is a huge plus too.

What would you have been glad about if someone had told you before you started studying? So, what’s your advice for AAU freshers?
I went to a British school with English as the medium of instruction and felt that would be enough to get by. I came here with absolutely no knowledge of German and feel like while you can get by with English you never get the full experience of local life. I quickly realised I needed to enroll myself in a German class. I am at a C1/C2 level now and can say the local language goes a long way in making a new place feel like home. My next hurdle is to master the dialect! So, if you decide to come here, especially as an international student, consider taking a German class or two before you arrive.

Which activities do you pursue next to your studies? Is it easy to combine these with studying?
My friends like to call me a restless busy bee! I like to do it all, haha! I am pursuing two degrees, am the head of the International Students Department, am working on my eco-startup and also work part time as a digital marketing manager. I think it all boils down to passion. If you have enough passion and a little bit of time management skills, you can easily find time for everything. It is also important to have a good support system and I am really blessed in that department!


  • My favourite course was… Focus on Linguistics: Multilingualism with English
  • My student life is… supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
  • University does not work without… Collaboration
  • I am motivated by… the fear of being average
  • My dream job is… Marketing manager