Hubert Gressl Pensacola, October 2nd 2004 UNIVERSITÄT KLAGENFURT UNIVERSITY OF WEST FLORIDA. Final Report FALL 2004

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1 UNIVERSITÄT KLAGENFURT - UNIVERSITY OF WEST FLORIDA Final Report FALL 2004 Gressl Hubert Page 1 of 5

2 Abstract This status report about the exchange semester in Pensacola, Florida is divided in four parts. The first part is talking about the application and immigration issues. Furthermore, it provides a short overview about the journey to and from USA. The next part, University Administration, is concerning the check in at the University of West Florida. The paragraph classes is dealing with everything about the classes. And last but not least the part about the hurricane includes a lot of interesting information. Application and Immigration First, I filled out some forms for the University of West Florida. Ms. Devine provided the forms and helped us go through it. Furthermore, we had to see the doctor for a health check and refresh some immunizations. I sent the confirmations, forms, and some additional information like a financial fortune confirmation to UWF. The response contained the DS 2019 form and further information. For the application for the visa I also had to fill out some forms and go on a personal interview. I arranged an appointment for the interview via phone call for the July 13 th. Fortunately, I got everything to make the administration in the office easy and I got my passport with the visa the day after by mail. At the same time I got in touch with Ms. MacKenzie, the Director of the International Office, to pre-enroll for the classes. I also applied for on-campus housing with the proper forms I got from Ms. Linda Hall, Office Manger for Housing and Residence Life. I received the acceptance for a two bedroom apartment in Village East four weeks later. The flight and the immigration run smoothly and I had no problems except maybe some detailed security checks. The flight s destination was Orlando. I was able to go there one week before the semester started, so I could travel. When I entered the USA I got a very important little white form named I-92 but I didn t know this at this time. As recently as Ms. MacKenzie welcome meeting I got the information that I am going to need it again when I leave the country again. Furthermore, I obtained the signature from Ms. MacKanzie for my DS 2019 from what says that my immigration status is ok and I am allowed to leave the country. So I took care about this things and I had no problems at my journey back home. Page 2 of 5

3 University Administration and Housing I arrived on time in Pensacola. First, I checked in at the International Office by Mrs. MacKenzie. By the way she is doing a great job though she is always busy. She tries to provide each student with the proper help and maybe that is the reason why. Once more I had to fill out some forms, but I was already used to it. I finished the enrollment for the classes, but there were some difficulties. Some classes were canceled. For example, Multimedia Systems CGS3875 and Computer and Network Security CEN4540 were canceled. But I found proper alternatives. The housing check-in was done easily and quick. I moved into a nice two bedroom apartment with shared kitchen and bathroom. The name of my roommate is John Rose and he is American. The Village is divided into four buildings and each building is supervised by a Residence Advisor, RA. The RAs here are very nice and helpful. They organize meetings with movies, sports, free food, and free beverages. The checkout was also easy and uncomplicated. The responsible Residence Adviser checked the condition of room and furniture based on the form I signed when I moved in. Nothing was damaged or missing so I didn t had to pay anything. I handed over the key and everything was ok. Classes The courses are generally based on one or more books and usually attendance is taken. Hence it seems to me that there is more work to do in the classes in the United States compared to Austria. But if a student does all the work and visits the classes you almost can t fail. Most of the examinations are held as multiple choice tests. For any educational issues ask at Dr. A. Yots office he is responsible for all international students. My classes have been: Software Methods for Remote Databases CIS 4340 Web Page Design CGS 3823 Internet Programming COP 3813 Computer Graphics Design CGS 3523 Networking Principles CGS 3283 The University of West Florida provides a similar portal ( to manage the classes like , storage and Page 3 of 5

4 printing like in Klagenfurt. We received a username and password to access this web application. It is possible to create a trial schedule with a graphical output for an easy arrangement of the classes. Furthermore there is an e-learning environment for each class which provides the learning material like scripts, assignments, announcements and results. Hurricane We got the first information about the hurricane two weeks before by and after that every second day. The s provided information about what we had to do. It was a really detailed list of things like buy water, gas, and food or put valuable stuff away from the windows and so forth. But the University leading recommended leaving the campus and the area. The other possibility was to evacuate in the UWF shelter, the commons building in the middle of the campus. I decided to stay in the shelter and in the morning of September 15 th I moved in. The hurricane hit Pensacola in the same night and the whole area was without power the following days. I stayed in the shelter for four days. There were restrooms, but we couldn t take a shower there. The good thing was that we got three meals a day and as much beverages we wanted for free. We thought we could stay there until the university reopened but on the third day there was a big meeting and they announced that the shelter would be close two days after. They also told us that the university will open on October 4 th at the earliest. That included that the on-campus dorms will be closed as well. Further, we were not allowed to go into the dorms to get some clothes or other stuff. So we had to leave the campus with the things we brought with us into the shelter. It was not easy to leave the area because the airport was closed; the greyhound service out of duty and the bridges for the highway to the east were broken. Fortunately I got a ride to New Orleans from some Japanese guys and I could stay some days at the apartment from Martin Penker. He is also from Austria and works at the Dillard University as teaching assistant. After two days, I got in touch with some fellow students who flew before the hurricane and went on a road trip through the United States of America. I decided to join them and I flew to the meeting point in El Paso. We traveled to the west coast and were right back on the weekend before the 4 th October to prepare for the classes again. The University reopened on the expected date, and we were able to move back into the dorms. They emptied and cleaned the refrigerators while we were absent. Almost everything was repaired and opened again except the gym, fitness center and the pool. The semester has Page 4 of 5

5 been extended for two weeks and the dead week will get canceled. The classes schedules changed but they are running already regular again. It was a very exciting and turbulent semester and I really had a great time. I improved my language skills very much and got an insight to the American way of life. This unforgettable experience also developed my character and is going to turn to account in my future. Thanks to the BIB and Ms. Devine for render it possible. You fulfilled a great dream and on the other hand you have made me feel like more Page 5 of 5

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