Studying History: Every epoch has its own “magic”

Maximilian Happerger is studying in the English and History to become a teacher. The 24-year-old from St. Veit talks to us about his studies, funny anecdotes and the beginning of studying. In this interview, he tells us how his view of the world has changed through his studies and why Graz and Krems were not the right places for him.

Why did you decide to study at all?

Originally, studying to become a teacher was not my plan at all. I took a diversion to study. First, I studied Law in Graz, then Political Science at the distance university Krems. At some point, I realised that none of this suited me 100% and decided to study in Klagenfurt.

What do you like most about the university?

You cannot study without a good student life and good friends. I was able to build and find both in Klagenfurt. I got to know great people at the History get-togethers (Geschichte-Stammtisch) where a lot of funny anecdotes have happened. The special thing about the university is its openness, which made it possible for me to make a lot of new friends. That has really enriched my life.

You are studying to become a teacher. Do you have a “favourite subject”?

Personally, I like History a little better because it is simply more versatile. For me, it is like “telling stories”, and no matter which epoch you are working on, for me, each one has its own “magic”. My general knowledge has expanded considerably as a result.

Has your view of the world changed through your studies?

I have definitely become more open and receptive to other cultures and life circles. I have also learned to question things more critically and, which is especially essential for a historian, to always double-check sources!

How do you explain the contents of your studies to your family or friends?

In general, many people in my surroundings, like family and friends, have a wrong idea about studying to become a teacher. Even with my combination of subjects, I often have to do educational work, as many assume that studying History means learning dates and historical events by heart. The main aim is to gain an understanding of historical and social developments.

Why did you choose Klagenfurt to study? What do you like about Klagenfurt?

Klagenfurt is a beautiful city and its proximity to Wörthersee makes it even more attractive as a place to study. But it would be a lie to say that these were the key criteria for my choice of study location. It just happened that way, but I have never regretted leaving Graz.

Why should one study here?

The university of Klagenfurt is small. I have already studied at larger universities and I really appreciate the advantages of a small university. At the AAU, you are not just a “number”, almost everyone knows each other in both the History and English Department, and even the professors usually know their students by name. Moreover, the number of students is manageable. The range of studies and courses is very good, with new courses being added almost every year.

What are you looking forward to when you arrive at the university?

To learning something new, to seeing my friends and, of course, to eating at Uniwirt.

What would be important advice to share with AAU freshers?

Do not always take yourself too seriously. Good things take time. I think it is good to have ambitions at the beginning of your studies, but you should not put too much pressure on yourself. I would advise everyone to network with students from higher semesters. From my personal experience, everyone is very helpful and can help with questions.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? In which field do you want to work?

Either I teach at a secondary school, or I work in the field of educational politics.


  • My first day at UNI was… scary
  • My greatest lecture experience… to have passed the lecture Altertum I positively (History students know why)
  • My university is… small but nice
  • My student life does not work without… coffee
  • My studies in 3 words… exciting, instructive, elaborate