Marie-Theres Grillitsch from Lavanttal moved to Klagenfurt for her studies. She completed her bachelor’s degree in educational science and then the master’s degree in adult and vocational education. In the interview she tells us why her time at university has shaped her sense of civil society commitment and why she did not choose Vienna.
Can you think of a nice anecdote from your studies?
I can still remember the “Uni-brennt” protests and my time in the student council. Seeing and feeling how important civil society commitment is has had a strong impact on me.
How did your career develop and how did you land in Villach?
I used to work at the AAU and was a freelance trainer in adult education. Before I moved to the city of Villach, where I have been working since 2015, I took advantage of the career advice service at the University of Klagenfurt, as I was in disagreement about whether an academic career or a career in the public sector would be more suitable. Well, I received excellent advice and do not regret my decision.
What do you particularly like about your job and what exactly does your work life look like?
My job is to steer the women’s political strategy of the city of Villach. This includes providing expert advice to politicians, administering subsidies and organising events aimed at changing traditional patriarchal structures in the long term.
Have your studies been helpful for your current job?
Definitely! On the one hand, the content-related discussion I had in my elective subjects or through the “Gender Certificate” of the University Centre for Women’s Studies and Gender Studies is helpful. On the other hand, the good network I was able to build up over the years. At a smaller university, this probably works easier or faster.
Did you always want to study in Klagenfurt?
To be honest, it was never my plan to study in Klagenfurt. I always wanted to go to Vienna and originally enrolled at the AAU for one year for private reasons.
And then you stayed after all.
Yes, the atmosphere and the togetherness made me want to stay. And even today, I am sure that I would probably never have completed my studies in Vienna (too much distraction 😉)!
What advice would you give to today’s students?
I regret that I never completed a semester abroad. For me, it was not possible for financial reasons. If you have the chance to go abroad, do it! Also: get involved as much as you can! Be it in the ÖH (Austrian Student Union) or in other groups. Education is our greatest asset, but it is anything but self-evident. And finally: do not forget to party!