Whether you still have to make it or you’ve already achieved it all, the conditions and offering for students at UASs are definitely right. This is confirmed by the completely different experiences two graduates had as students whose life circumstances at the beginning of their studies could not have been more different. On the one hand, mountain bike legend Christoph Soukup, who, when he decided to study at the age of 32, had already competed in various Olympic Games, was Austrian Champion, overall winner of the European Cup and Vice European Champion. “It was extremely important for me to be able to continue doing my sport and also participate in international competitions during my studies”, reflects Soukup. During his professional career as a competitive athlete in the Austrian Army from 2001 to 2012, the Viennese-born Soukup worked on earning the qualification for university entrance. “I spoke to the head of studies in advance about my wish, since I train about 900 hours a year for such competitions”, he explains.
Nothing is given away
But this needs to be well coordinated – and, at a University of Applied Sciences, it is possible to organise it well: “At the University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt, they were very willing to accommodate an Olympic athlete – but, still, they didn’t just hand over my degree.” Although his personal situation was taken into account, his studies still took precedence. An eye was always kept on his fulfilment of the attendance requirement and that his marks were satisfactory. When there were exams, Soukup could always rely on his UAS for a certain degree of flexibility. “It was possible, for example, for me to move my exams once to the following semester because of a European championship.” This, however, did not hurt his academic success by any means: In 2017, Soukup had successfully completed both his bachelor’s and master’s in “Training & Sport”, and, today, he is one of the co-founders of the KTM MTB Factory Teams in Austria.
Sport was also an important criterion for Christoph Hugl in choosing a UAS – not only in regards to his studies but also to student life. However, Hugl, born in Vienna, was only 19 and a novice when he decided to study “Sports, Culture & Event Management” at the Fachhochschule Kufstein. There, he found the ideal conditions for reaching his goal of being an independent project and event manager in the public arena – which he was able to achieve already at the age of 23 with his business Hugl Projects. “We organise, for example, marathons and bicycle races”, he says, describing his work, which he gained plenty of knowledge about during his studies on and off campus in Kufstein.
Its own sports programm
“In general, Kufstein is a paradise, as far as its location is concerned”, he remembers about his student life, “whether it’s skiing, hiking, or mountain-biking.” Besides that, plenty of courses and events are offered by the UAS and the student union; they put together their own sport programmes, including climbing, overnight hiking trips, swimming, hockey, football, mountain-biking and night skiing. Hugl was happy to take advantage of these possibilities during his free-time. The prospective event manager was also able to benefit from the sports offered by his alma mater in regards to his profession: “During our studies, we also organised sporting events, for example, ski races and the Austrian student championship in cooperation with Unisport Austria”, he states, recalling how he was able to combine his hobby and future profession already during his studies. The well organised timetable at his UAS made it possible to get a degree quickly but still left enough time for sports in his free-time. “Once a week, I managed to go skiing or drive to a lake or to a mountain”, Hugl says. A luxury which, now after graduation, is no longer so easily enjoyed by the successful founder.