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Travelling to the City of 7 Hills with Unite!

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Sun, colorful streets and pastéis de nata all day long? TU Graz made it happen at the Unite! Student Fes-tival in Lisbon last summer!

Last June 200 students from 9 universities came together for the Unite! Student Festival in the “City of Seven Hills”: Lisbon. In the westernmost capital city of Europe, we all participated in activities of exchanging ideas, perspectives and projects, while exploring the Portuguese culture at its finest.

What is ‘UNITE!’?

Unite! Is the so called “University Network for Innovation, Technology and Engineering”, which TU Graz is a part of. It is an European University alliance in cooperation with the following 8 other universities:

  • Technical University of Darmstadt
  • Aalto University
  • INP Grenoble - UGA
  • KTH Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm
  • Politecnico di Torino
  • Universidade de Lisboa
  • Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya
  • Wroclaw University of Science and Technology

Unite! offers great opportunities for networking internationally, language courses, internships, funding support and many more for students to profit from. More information about Unite! can be found on their website: https://www.unite-university.eu/about-us

My workshop team, with whom I worked on essential questions regarding student life and the future of our universities. (Image Source: Unite! Student Festival Lisbon)

The Festival

25 students from various study fields represented TU Graz at the Student Festival last June. The event was organised by the University of Lisbon who had a program planned surrounding Unite! but also activities in Lisbon, like a city tour with Portuguese wine tasting.

The goal of the festival was to sponsor international contacts as well as the exchange of ideas and projects. On the two days we got together and gathered ideas on how to improve the experience as students: We had workshops on problem-solving techniques and worked on common issues together, exchanged and developed tips, etc. It was amazing to get insights on how other universities go about certain questions surrounding university, student life, sustainability and more. We worked on the questions together in groups, consisting of students from each university to have a broader input. We presented our ideas and results at the final day of the festival.

On the last day we had the final presentations of the ideas and concepts we developed throughout the workshops. (Image Source: Unite! Student Festival Lisbon)


While in the mornings we would work on our ideas, the afternoons were reserved for Lisbon and the Portuguese culture: The University of Lisboa had planned a tour through the city accompanied with food, drinks and stories at each stop. The sights were amazing – and since we were walking with locals, we saw spots we wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Very memorable were also the famous colourful tiles of the houses and the street art – and of course the traditional Portuguese dessert “pastéis de nata”.

The festival was all about meeting new people from all over Europe: Here in the group photo you can see all 200 students taking part in the festival. (Image Source: Unite! Student Festival Lisbon)

It is truly amazing, how we were able to connect and learn so much about the Portuguese culture in this short period of time. And because we were in a constant exchange with students from each university, we learned a lot about the other international students’ countries and their traditions too. And even the students from TU Graz connected on another level, since almost everyone is from a different department or in a different study cycle. It truly was an enriching experience.

The performance of the musical group "A Feminina" from the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Lisbon. (Image Source: Unite! Student Festival Lisbon)

My Experience

Although the festival only lasted a few days, it was truly inspiring to connect with young people full of innovative ideas and experiences to share. I had a chance to broaden my horizon and benefit from an exchange with like-minded students from all over Europe through Unite! and TU Graz and highly recommend it to every other student as well. Because exploring Lisbon with fellow students was the perfect way to end the semester.

Group picture of all the TU Graz students at the festival. (Image Source: Raphael Wiesner)

Luisa Frasin is a Bachelor's student of architecture at TU Graz and assistant for internationalization at the Faculty of Architecture. Enthusiastic about intercultural exchange and stays within Europe, she is part of many Unite! projects, such as the Unite! Book Club.
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