40 Years Center for Distance Learning – A Student’s Perspective

Lisa, 34, is from Vorarlberg. We spoke with her about why she chose to earn a degree via distance learning.


Lisa, 34, photo credit: personal
Lisa, 34, photo credit: personal

What attracted you to the idea of earning degree via remote learning?
Lisa (public service clerk, Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Studies, graduating in 2022): Earning a degree remotely was good fit for me because of my personal situation. I am a mother of four and I live in the Bregenzerwald. Unfortunately, there is no opportunity to study history in Vorarlberg, and having four children and commuting to the nearest university is not really an option, either. Remote learning allowed me to earn a degree free of time and location constraints. I was able to start when I was still on maternity leave and in this regard, I didn't lose any time.

What have been the most rewarding/difficult moments during your studies so far?
Lisa: The best moment of my studies was finally overcoming my anxiety before taking an oral exam and then passing the exam with a very good grade. That feeling of overcoming (personal) hurdles and being successful is indescribable. One of the most difficult moments was certainly writing my first term paper. Without practice and experience, it's hard to gauge whether or not you're really doing it right. Luckily, that gets easier each semester.

What was your everyday routine like?
Lisa: To be honest, fairly unstructured really. Given the kids’ ever-changing needs and various job demands, I just try to fit my studies in wherever there is time. Sometimes there are weeks where I can study an hour or two a day and other times, I can only really study on the weekends. But it always works out in the end somehow.

Did your degree program meet your expectations?
Lisa: Yes, absolutely. Both in terms of the depth and the concentration of topics.

Would you recommend your distance learning program to others?
Lisa: Definitely! Because the distance learning program is flexible, it’s ideal for those who are self-disciplined and interested in the subject. Everyone should take advantage of the opportunity to continue their education, especially since it doesn’t have to be so complicated.

What is the difference between earning a degree remotely compared to on-site studies?
Lisa: As I never studied on-site and in-person at a university, I can only guess. One difference is certainly the social life and activities. There is a sort of campus, but most people live several hundred kilometers away. One thing that is missing is the more casual contact and chatting with fellow students and professors. That kind of contact takes a bit of work when at the distance learning university. There is also a difference between learning the material during a lecture and having to study it on your own. The FernUni tries to compensate for this as much as possible by offering on-site and online seminars as well as office hours. All in all, like everything, there are pros and cons.

How does distance learning add value to you or your life?
Lisa: The program gives me an opportunity to focus on something I am passionate about: history. At the same time, I'm earning my degree and afterwards, I will have better job opportunities. It’s a win-win situation and added value I wouldn't want to miss out on.

The Center for Distance Learning in Bregenz is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year – is there anything you would like to add?
Lisa: I would like to warmly congratulate the Center for Distance Learning in Bregenz on its 40th anniversary and say thank you for their support. I am sure there are many more successful, exciting years ahead for the Center!