This blog post is about our trip to Graz, Austria, in order to attend to the European Youth Awards 2017.
We left Tampere in the middle of the night, on Tuesday the 28th at 3am. We had an early flight to catch in Helsinki and a long way to go before we got to Graz. After two flights, a 3-hour-long wait at Munich Airport and a short train ride, we finally made it to downtown Graz. Our hostel was quite near to the railway station on which we arrived, so that was great!
On our first day there, we were all quite tired form the trip, so we did not much in the way of sightseeing. We just went out for a stroll around town and looked for good places to eat.
Graz is a lovely town, has about the same size as Tampere, but a rather different “feel” more ancient and “continental”. Also there were Christmas markets everywhere!
On our second day we had more energy, which was good, cause we had a scheduled visit to FH Joanneum, the applied sciences university in Graz. We headed there in the morning and met Prof. Dr. Konrad Baumann for a coffee first, in a cafe by the university building, and then for a short session showing some usability test work. After that we met with Karl Stocker for another session where we were shown thesis works done by their students. There were some pretty nice animations. It was suggested we could come back to Graz for our exchange semester.
After that it was time to register and get our credentials for the EYA. That went smoothly and then the only thing we had to do was head to the opening sessions.
There were two different opening sessions on Wednesday, first we had a creativity workshop in the “Island in the Mur”, an interesting cafe located in a bridge atop the river Mur. This was fun, as we got to do some artistic creative work and meet some cool new people!
My group did this!
After that we had a more solemn opening session in the city hall. The winners got their awards and there were snacks and wine. Unfortunately all the snacks were meat, leaving little option for the 3 vegans/vegetarians among us.
Seriously guys, this much meat is just not healthy.
Thursday was a very EYA heavy day. In the morning there were the campfire sessions, which one of us attended, and then there was a presentation about creativity and entrepreneurship. The presenter was a bit repetitive, but he did get his points across. Here is a picture of it.
There was a lot of scratching over words in the presentation
After that there were some workshops. Unfortunately none of the workshop themes were really related to what we are doing. Some of us used that afternoon to take a tour of the Armory museum in Graz, which could only be visited by non german speaking people at 1pm. There they/I got to see some cool armour and weaponry that can be used for concepts in the games we are working and plan to work on!
This is some fancy armor!
After that we had a long session, where all of the EYA 2017 winners got to show off their projects and answer questions about them.
In the morning of our last day at the EYA we had some group work in the Europa Hotel, where we were supposed to sit in tables with strangers and discuss micro networks, what makes them good or bad and so on. It was a bit confusing, as most of us didn’t have much experience with that part of business management. But we got to meet new people and talk to our team members before we did our presentations.
After that we took buses to the Styrian Chamber of Commerce where we had lunch and then presented the projects we had been working on previously. This was a bit tiring cause we had to stand for a long time and answer a lot of questions. But it all went well, unfortunately a member of my group, who did our poster, was not capable to come and present her work with us as she is an exchange student at TAMK and was not allowed to get a grant.
This is me and my group and the person who made the app we talked about.
After that we had the final Gala where more prizes were given and there was some entertainment acts. They were quite fun, both the dancer and the beatboxer.
There was a lot of talking.
Finally, the chairs were taken away and there was a party, which was also quite fun.
On our last day in Graz, we checked out of the hostel and then went around Graz to buy some souvenirs for our family and loved ones and people in general we would like to buy a souvenir to.
We did not have much time for that, though, as we had to take our plane back to finland.
The way back was a bit longer than the way to. We had to wait for one extra hour, makin it four hours total, in Frankfurt airport this time.
It was good getting back home, but the experiences we had in Graz will always follow us and stay forever in both our hearts and minds.
Finally I would like to send a special thanks to our sponsors in this trip, Viesti ry, Taku ry and Ammattiliitto Pro! Thanks!
Text and images by Antonio Rodrigues da Silva